Sunday, 30 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - Z is for...

Zero is not just a number...

Have you ever wished for a few minutes of silence? Or an hour or two of solitude? Few people actually want these things and the reasons vary from one person to the next. But why would you never want to be alone?

When zero is not the hero

Many people feel happy, in fact, they are at their happiest, when they are surrounded by people. People are noisy, to I guess the silence and the solitude go together in most cases. Is it even possible to be with other people 24/7? In our modern era of social media, it is. Different time zones, different times of the day. It doesn't matter where you are, the internet never sleeps. Then again...

Solitude will be inevitable at some point

What do you do when the power is down and with it all means to be online? Everything connected to our way of life is driven by technology and technology requires electricity. No power, no social media. It is a bad time to visit other people, now what? Do you freak out? Panic? Or do you shrug and go finish that painting you started last week? Or grab that book you have been threatening to read? Or search for a candle and catch up on your meditation or mindfulness practice?
The problem comes in when you are alone, even if the power is not the problem. Many people face that situation after a divorce, or children leaving home, or relocation to a new home. We can never completely avoid it.

Zero can be the hero

woman writing in a notebook
The best way to learn to deal with being alone is to control your time, your activities and your mind when you are. You can learn how to do that by choosing to be alone even for a short time. Find something to keep you occupied. An activity that you like, that could make you happy even though there is no one else around.
If you don't know what that is, take the time to find it. Explore new things. Take a moment to remember what you liked as a child, and translate that to the adult version.
Remember to record your journey and experiences in your journal. It is your time to be alone, isn't it?
--- * -- * -- * ---
This is the last post of this series of Finding your Happiness through Journal Writing in the A to Z Challenge. This is, however, not the last word on this subject and I encourage you to read more books and explore online articles on the subjects of journal writing and personal happiness. You will be doing it for yourself after all.
Until next time!

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - Y is for...

You in all your glory
Today we are doing a little art once more, and it couldn't be easier. You did this a lot when you were a child. Now we are just going to do the grown up version with a twist.
Who are you?
We as individuals have many roles in our daily lives. Some because we have to, and some because we choose to. So today we are going to use a very simple drawing to say who we are.
The steps are as follows:
pencil drawing, left hand, handmade paper
  1. Use your journal directly, or a piece of art paper suitable for watercolour paint or watercolour pencils. Make sure it is trimmed so it will fit the page of your journal (if necessary).
  2. Use a pencil to draw the outline of your non-dominant hand - just as you did when you were young. I kept my fingers slightly bent to make sure they fit on my paper.
  3. Use a permanent marker or pen, to redraw the pencil lines, and add a few details if you like. I added the wrinkles over my knuckles and the half-moons in my nails where I have them. Lastly, I added my wedding ring, since I was wearing it when I did the outline.
    watercolour paint, paint brush, pencil drawing of hand on white paper
  4. Activate the paint by spraying it with a little water. Then using a soft flat brush, paint in any random way, with random colours all over your sketch. If the colours flow together, that is perfect too.
    watercolour painted hand, multicolour drawing, two pens
  5. Let it dry otherwise, it will stain the pages of your journal.
  6. I used a silver gel marker to redraw my ring, but the details were then obscured. The ink of this pen is not conducive to drawing over it again, so I left it as is.
  7. Use a permanent pen and write down all your roles as you see them. You can make a list like I did, or you can write them all over, at angles, upside-down, whatever way you feel like.
  8. Sign and date your drawing, and glue it into your journal when you're done.
    watercolour painted drawing of a hand, handwritten text over image

Our roles change with time and also as we grow older. You can easily do this again at any time you feel like it. I do this hand drawing once a year, and it is always interesting to see what has changed, and what has remained the same.

This is our last art entry for the A to Z Challenge in 2017. I hope you enjoyed doing something a little different for your journal entries this month.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - X is for...

Crossing out...high five!
small tick mark and cross in purple square
Do you ever go back to the todo lists you make to cross out the items that you have completed? (check out if you need a system to help manage those pesky to-do lists)
I am guilty too for not doing that. Sure the job is done, so why bother? We should bother. Internal validation of achievement is just as important as external recognition. Of course, no one is going to give you an award for completing the ironing today (well, in my book you deserve a medal!) but tasks completed give us some a sense of happiness too. Even the mundane tasks like ironing.
Checking back; moving forward
Todo lists in our journals are seldom simple tasks or goals that we set for ourselves. Often we beat ourselves up, because it is taking longer, or it is more difficult than what we expected. But if you look back to six months or just two months' entries ago, you will see progress to now. And so what if it is taking longer? You are growing. You are moving forward. The journey you are on is not an overnight kind of success journey. It is a life long journey with yourself.
Cross out?
In journal writing, we don't delete what was written in the past. Nor so we cross out the words of history. Compare yourself today with the person you have been, and see the changes. Rejoice in the happiness that you have achieved.
Note the path that you have travelled, and keep moving forward.
Only read entries that are weeks or months old to see the changes in yourself. Long lasting changes are subtle and take more time, but they are there and you will see that in you.
If you started your journal on 1 April 2017, then delay this entry for a while. Make a note of it, and come back to it at the end of June. Keep writing and work on finding your happiness, it is a journey after all.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - W is for...

Weapons and Words

hand holding sword blade, fake blood on palm
When you think about the saying 'the pen is mightier than the sword', you understand what it means. Words can hurt, and the wrong words spoken at the wrong time can cause a lot of damage to relationships. But you can also hurt yourself, even if you don't mean to.

Words in journals

Keeping a journal is a good thing. It is a place to explore your own private thoughts and dreams. But it can also be a place where you can put yourself down with negative thoughts and scathing words.

Be kind to yourself

We do have negative thoughts and feelings sometimes, but you have to be aware of these and the impact they could have if you continuously indulge in them.
Positive words and good thoughts will limit the impact. Make sure that when you feel down or depressed, that you watch the words you write in your journal. If there are many entries of that kind, it might be time to seek help to address these.
Journal writing can be therapeutic, but it cannot solve problems on behalf of a therapist or psychiatrist.

Put down the sword

fine line markers on black fabric, yellow, purple, pink, green
Make sure your entry today is focused on the positive things in your life. Consider a Gratitude or Happiness entry. If you cannot, perhaps it is time to seek the help of a professional.
Just remember that words can have a lot of power, and we need to make sure our inner dialogue is also helping us grow at all times.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - V is for...

Value of invaluables
picture of a tape measure
You know as well as I that some things have no monetary value, purely because you cannot buy them. Things like friendship, love, empathy and a good steak. Okay, food is something you can buy, but the experience of enjoying a good meal is beyond the price you pay for it.
Value beyond money
We live in an increasingly materialistic world where people are more likely to judge your value based on what you own. House, car, jewellery, technology, to name but the items at the start of a long list.
But some things we own are of value to us, and not because of what they may be worth in an insurance claim. We own items that are special because they represent a tangible memory of a special person or event in our lives.
Of course, the item could be valuable like a wedding ring, but for most of us, it is the memories attached to the item that makes it irreplaceable.
Explore the value in your drawers or cupboards
image journal with pen, #atozchallenge text on side of the journal
Use your journal today to take a step or two back down memory lane. Name the item, and explore the memory attached to it. You can also stick a picture or drawing of it in your journal instead.
Why is this particular item the one that triggers your memory? What do you feel about the event or person at the time of the memory? How do you feel about them now?

Purely relying on our emotions for happiness results in a fleeting experience, but if we incorporate them into our journey, they become part of it. Build on the memories, good and bad, and take the best forward with you on your journey of happiness. 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - U is for...

A to Z Challenge Badge 2017

Unique, are you?

Have you noticed how hard people are trying to either fit in or disappear into the wallpaper? Where are the things that make people stand out from the crowds? We're not talking genetics or things that you had no say in. Nor are celebrities good examples. There are exceptions, but they are few.
No, we are talking about us, normal people—who went to school, then to study something or the other, then working, getting married, raising a family...and then the cycle starts all over again.
And it's not about saving the world either. It is about being you, the person that experiences life, not only living it.

Make your experiences unique

Since I mentioned school (I include all levels of education here), let's start there. Have you studied anything new since writing that last exam paper? Not because your boss told you to, but because you wanted to. Not because there was something to achieve, like a certificate or promotion, but because you were interested in the subject. No? Why not? Aren't you curious about the world around us? It's history or scientific advancements. It's beauty expressed in all kinds of art and music. The people and our interaction with our environment. The list is endless.
Another thing is our relationships. When was the last time you truly connected with your spouse/partner? And not only physically, but emotionally and intellectually too. How about discussing that play you saw together, or maybe want to see together? Maybe it will help to get a babysitter for a few hours so that you can spend some time together to find that connection again.
Instead of the mindless hours spent in front of the TV, take control of your life and experience it.

Experience the uniqueness of you

We all feel at some point that life is passing us by. One day you twenty-five, at the cusp of your life, and the next moment you are sixty-five, and wondering what the hell happened?
Epictetus quote
Don't wait, or delay. There will never be a good time or the right opportunity, you have to make it happen.
If you're not sure what it is you need to experience, use your journal to let your thoughts guide you. Learn something new, and think about the experience, the knowledge and the change in you. Do something new and explore the experience.
Don't delay. Start your unique journey of experiencing life and happiness by taking control of your choices today.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - T is for...

Time, the cross of the modern era
Apple, iWatch 2, image, digital watch-face
My digital watch
Have you noticed how obsessed we are with time? We wear watches, put clock apps on our mobile phones, have clocks in our cars, clocks on our walls and desks. Heck, here where I am sitting at my desk, at home, I can see at least 3 clocks: my watch, my fish tank and my computer screen. If I open the cover on my phone, there would be another.
It is as if we cannot live without those numbers that tell us...what? Time?
What is time?
According to Wikipedia[1], “Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.”
Uh, okay?
While that sounds instinctively correct, it doesn't tell us much about what time actually is, does it?
image, fishtank, clock, time, calendar, temperature
My fish tank
Reading a bit more we see that the number (we note as the date or the time on a clock) is calculated as an event or occurrence measured from a reference.
If you know something about mathematics and science, you will know that there is such a thing as an international time standard from which all clocks derive their reference, or 'starting point' if you like. If there wasn't, there would be chaos in the world and we would have constant disputes as to when we should meet, or when something happened in history. But we don't because people started measuring time, a long time ago.
Evidence suggests that people started 'measuring' time about 6000 years ago by observing the lunar cycles.
Why did people need to know the time?
If your history is up to speed, you will remember that people were mostly farmers, or more correctly, depended on the seasons for their survival. They needed to have some kind of indication of when it would be a good time to plant food, when to expect rain, and when to look forward to the harvest.
They also used the lunar cycles for their religious ceremonies. So, we needed to know the time to survive and to give thanks to the gods for the bounty they provided.
Since then the human race's survival has taken a different turn - the concrete jungle and its rat race. So it is still a survival thing, although it is not our lives that depend on it so much anymore.
How do we measure time?
Historical records are filled with the devices that people used to measure time. Sundials, water clocks (which were surprisingly accurate), the hourglass, and mechanical clocks of various designs.
Today we measure time using an atomic clock. It is the reference standard mentioned earlier. A caesium source is used as the time reference. It is radiated with microwaves to observe the vibrations of electrons inside the Cs atom. The reference unit of measuring time is the second.
The Global Positioning System of satellites are used to synchronise clocks worldwide.
Time on a personal scale
While it is fascinating to know that we can measure time with mind-boggling accuracy, and that our ancestors didn't do that badly with their own time measuring devices, time means more than the hours, minutes, and seconds displayed on our watches.
If you watch the grains of sand flowing through an hourglass, you get the feeling that you can 'see' time flowing away. The older we get, the more we hear people say that time is going faster. Time is not going faster, it is our greater awareness of the time we have left in this life that makes us more aware of the flow of time.
We cannot change time's passage, nor can we recover or save time. We can only use time: for things that make us happy, for things that we need to survive, for things that we don't need to do.
Explore your use of time in your journal today. Are you spending your time doing things that make you happy? Useful? Productive? If not, what can you change to make that happen?

You can read many more interesting things about time in the links below.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Live in Balance: On finishing what I started

Last night I scrolled through my unpublished writing projects. And there are many of them. I got disheartened when I saw how many of them are still unfinished first drafts. Some may never be finished. I only let a story go if I don't like it anymore.
I have, however, several first drafts that are finished. They need editing, for sure, but the story is done. So why did I feel so negative when I saw the list of files of projects not yet done? Time seems to be the answer. I explore a little of the history of time in tomorrow's post, in the A to Z Challenge.
Time, yes, the one limited resource over which we have no control. But we can control how we spend it, yes? When I read about an English Premier League soccer player who died last week at the age of 44, I felt sad even though I have never met the man. He was so incredibly young. I am in no position to judge how he lived his life, but it again made me think about the way I am spending my limited resource. Am I using all of it without regret and waste?
We will explore the Value of life (and time) in this last week of the A to Z Challenge. And I have to say that through my research into exploring Happiness through Journal Writing, maybe it is time for a change in direction in my own journey to happiness.
I hope you have enjoyed exploring journal writing on this journey of Happiness with me this month.
Next month I will be back to my usual posting schedule (once or twice a week) and I look forward to your company then.
Until next time!


The A-to-Z Challenge letters for the coming week are as follows:
Monday: Letter T…for Time
Tuesday: Letter U…for Unique
Wednesday: Letter V…for Value
Thursday: Letter W…for Weapon
Friday: Letter X…for Cross Out
Saturday: Letter Y…for You (art prompt)
Sunday: Letter Z...for Zero

If you missed any of the previous letters, here is a quick recap (just click the letter!)
A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I        K    L    M
N   O    P    Q    R    S

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - S is for...

Share what you learn
Yesterday, Friday, I had a migraine and didn't get to do everything that I wanted to. Since I am on leave, my todo list is flexible, but I also have a few things that I want to do. The migraine put me in bed for a few unplanned hours. While the pain wasn't so bad this time, I usually try not to think too hard. So I let my mind drift in whatever directions it wanted to go without pausing to explore any thought that might occur.
Until I fell asleep, thankfully, I realised that I have been reading a lot of non-fiction books recently. It is not unusual to do that when doing research for a new book or blog series, but somehow my research turned into more - I was reading for me.
quoted text, Negotiating the Maze, author Linzé Brandon, non-fiction, writer's life

Why read non-fiction in the first place
In my book, Negotiating the Maze, there is a section on reading and reviewing books, and how doing that for fiction differs from reading and reviewing non-fiction books.
What struck me in particular, was the way the recent books made me think. After almost every chapter, sometimes even after reading a paragraph, I had to put the book down and think about what I had read.
Often there was a Wow! moment, or even a hmm moment. These books have affected my thinking in some way. Changing one's thoughts could change one's way of life. It might have been the intention of the author, but unless I let it change me in some way, I might as well not have read the book at all.
Of course, this is not the case for all non-fiction books. But it again comes back to the intention of reading the book. Although I think some books are meant to change your life, no matter what your intentions were for reading them in the first place.
Share the surprise
Have you read a book that impacted your life although you did not plan it that way?

Friday, 21 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - R is for...

Rambling roses
You have a date with your journal, and you really love the time you spent writing down your thoughts, but you have no idea where to start. Happens to all of us. Novice or experienced journal writers.
image, desk sized fish tank
You have a peek at a daily prompt or pick a letter from this blog, but there is nothing that speaks to you. Is there any advice to help? Yes, there is.
Think shallow to dig deep
Sometimes we know what we need to ponder, but it is difficult to get going. So the approach not difficult to manoeuvre, you start by using the simplest writing technique known to man: word association.
Take a dictionary (book works better, but some online dictionaries will give you a random word) open it and use the first word you see. Write it down. If you don't know the word, learn the meaning and make a sentence with it. Write down the next thing that comes to mind. And the next thing. You can write a sentence about the word that pops up, or just jump to something new.
Keep on doing this for a few minutes or until the words you need to write flows out of your pen.
If nothing happens, relax, ramble some more, but don't force yourself. Your mind may need a little time to process the thing you need to ponder, but until then, pick a word.
Ramble on dear friend
When I need to ramble, revive, repress, rhyme or ring, I pick an object on my desk and whine about needing to put it away, or clean it, or replace it. My favourite is the small fish tank that I bought a while back. There are no fish but I love the sound of the water while I am writing or reading. You can also pick from 6 prerecorded sounds of nature, but I just love to hear the sound of the water.
It can be powered by a USB port. This is a feature I like because I can plug it into my backup battery pack, and use the bright 6 LED light when the power is down.
See? Rambling already and about an empty fish tank.

Today's prompt is to get you going when you feel that words fail you. What other tricks do you use to get going on your journal entry?

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - Q is for...

My favourite Quote
Don't you just love words starting with Q? In English there are quite a number, but in Afrikaans, my home language, words starting with Q are rare indeed.
But when it came to the challenge this time, there was no doubt that my Letter Q would be for Quote. So here is my all time favourite quote:
quote, Epictetus

I have it printed in large font and stuck up on the cupboard door in my office facing me. All I have to do is look up and over my computer screen and there it is. My inspiration, if you like. The essence of what I feel I could become: dream plus action equals sixteen words.

What is your all time favourite quote?

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - P is for...

Physical challenges

Do you set physical goals for yourself? If you take part in competitions I am sure you do, but what if you have no interest in competitive sports? Or at least not want to take part at a competitive level, what do you do to keep moving?

quote, Epictetus

To journal or not to journal

It is easy (relatively speaking) to use your journal for issues related to emotional issues and challenges. But setting yourself physical challenges, with your journal, can be a challenge in itself.
So what do we mean by physical challenges? Losing weight? Sure. Doing something creative? Always. But what about a sport-type of activity, such as t'ai chi? Um...yes?
I think you can do anything you want to apply your journal too. Because it is about a journey of life experiences to find your happiness.
You might need a calendar for taking part, or learning a new activity, when you are taking classes or join a club. But your journal can be there too...

It is a journey after all

Not there yet, door tag, inspiration, quote
Why do you want to learn Spanish? Or take up painting? Or master t'ai chi Sun Style? Something drove you to make that choice in the first place. Whether you were bored, or wanted to challenge yourself, you made a choice to step out of your comfort zone.
That choice places you on a new path in your life experiences. And your journal is the companion you need to take with you on that journey.
Your feelings will range from excitement at doing something new, to frustration at not learning fast enough, or self-doubt at choosing something that seems to be beyond your capabilities. But persistence is the key and noting your development in your journal will be the guide to the achievement of the goal.
We live in a world of instant-gratification. We want everything now; it is the same with new skills or challenging goals. But achievers are not people who give up, they are people who persisted until they have mastered the goals they set for themselves.

When you go back to the read the start of your journey, you will see how much you have grown in your happiness experiences and will feel more motivated with your next goal.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Book Feature: Provocative (White Lies Book One) by Lisa Renee Jones

Provocative (White Lies Book One) by Lisa Renee Jones Release Date: April 18th
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book one in the sexy and intense new White Lies duet by Lisa Renee Jones!

There are those moments in life that are provocative in their very existences, that embed in our minds forever, and sometimes our very souls. They change us, mold us, maybe even save us. But some are darker, dangerous. If we allow them to, they control us. Seduce us. Quite possibly even destroy us.

The moment I walked into Sonoma’s Reid Winter Winery and Vineyard and made eye contact with Faith Winter for the first time was one of those moments. Provocative because I know at least one of her secrets, of which, I suspect she has many. Provocative because she believes I was a stranger to her when we met, but I am not. Provocative because I sought her out, with no intention of touching her. But now I have. Now I want her. Now I have to have her. But that changes nothing. It doesn’t change why I came for her.

Hi everyone!
I’m so excited that PROVOCATIVE is available now! Just a few notes: if you order PROVOCATIVE this week only you will get $1 off and it will only be $2.99 - I will be increasing this price at the end of the week! You’ll also receive the FREE novella Rebecca’s Forgotten Journals (these are NEW journal entries) in the back of your copy!

PS - if you missed your chance to receive any of my bonus scenes from Amy & Liam, Chris & Sara, or Ella & Kayden, this is your last chance to get them! Register your order of PROVOCATIVE here - and you’ll receive them early next week!

Check out the Trailer:


Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

Book two: SHAMELESS will be out on July 11th!

Prize: $100 Amazon gift card

About the Author:
author. Lisa Renee Jones
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (producer of Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy - a modern girl we all can identify with.
In addition to the success of Lisa's INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is presently working on a dark, edgy new series, Dirty Money, for St. Martin's Press.
Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women's Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.

Connect with the Author:
Twitter: @LisaReneeJones
Stay in touch with Lisa by joining her mailing list:

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - O is for...

Open to new experiences
quote, Jeff Goins
If you have recently started to keep a journal, you have already opened yourself to a new experience. It is easy to start something, a new hobby, writing a novel, keeping a journal. But few people persist to gain the long term benefits of doing anything new.
Hobbies take time to learn the new skill or technique. Writing a novel is not an overnight exercise (trust me, I know!) and writing the first draft is just the beginning of a fairly lengthy process until it can be published (irrespective of the publishing route you choose).
But journal writing is a different story. With no end goal in place (like a published novel, or a finished model aeroplane) it can be difficult to continue with the practice.
Experience the new
Don't leave out other things or other experiences in your life, when writing in your journal. If you have an unresolved issue, leave writing about it for a while. Do something new - and allow yourself to live in the moment of that experience.
Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, Goals 2017, online journal, #atozchallenge
Find a new restaurant? Pick a dish you have never had before and take your senses on a new journey during the meal. What did the dish smell like? What new flavours have your tasted?
Volunteer to look after a friend's pet if they go away for a weekend. How did you feel about looking after something that doesn't belong to you? Did you feel more attuned to the animal's needs? Were you scared that something might happen to it?
A change in direction
Often we feel frustrated or unhappy in our jobs and look around for something different. If you have made such a change, how did it make you feel to leave the familiar behind? You will always find difficult colleagues no matter where you work. How are you dealing with your new situation? Has the previous job taught you things that you can better use now with new people?
New is not always nice
Many people resist change and often fear what those changes could bring. Use your journal to help you identify the things that you fear when it comes to change. Allow yourself to be more open to the opportunities that may come your way.
If you are more open to new experiences, you might find that they were not so scary as you thought they were going to be. There is happiness in understanding new things about yourself. Using your journal to record the new journey you will be better prepared for the next new thing that may come along.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - N is for...

plate of sushi
My favourite food 💜
It is one of the more popular journals that many people start off with, a diet journal. You are supposed to note everything that you eat and drink during the day to spot where you are going wrong or to count the calories of your diet.
It can be successful to help you recognise where you are cheating if you are following a specific diet regime.
While this probably worked for many people, it didn't work for me. It was a disappointment when I realised that just making a list of what I consumed, wasn't helping me at all. I needed to figure out what I did wrong, but not just what I ate, but my behaviour and emotions, at the time.
You may already know that diets fail because they are temporary. As soon as you return to your 'normal' way of eating, you often regain the weight lost, and in many cases more than where you started from.
So if a diet journal wasn't the answer, how could keeping a food journal actually be of some benefit?
Food vs Feelings
When we write in our journals we note our feelings and thoughts, so why should those be excluded when we keep a food journal? Is our food behaviour not often linked to our emotional states?
Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, Goals 2017, online journal, #atozchallengeDo you eat when you are sad? Or bored? Or lonely? Or depressed? Or happy?
Instead of just writing down a list of all the food and drink you consumed during the day, also note the circumstances when you did. Also, note the way you felt before and after eating or drinking.
Did you eat because you were hungry, or should you rather have had a glass of water? We often confuse thirst with hunger, and then eating something won't help if you are getting dehydrated.
By making these notes I realised that I was getting headaches more often than usual. I drank more water and the headaches went away, until I actually had a real headache, then drinking water alone didn't solve the pain without a painkiller.
I am not going to tell you how I adjusted my lifestyle when it comes to food because it works for me. It addresses my issues in terms of food and my physical and emotional needs.
You need to resolve this for yourself. Keep a food journal for two or three weeks, and note your feelings and other circumstances at the same time.
Fix your own food issues
Only after the allocated time is past, do you go back and analyse what you have written. If you eat when you are depressed, you might need to consult someone who is way smarter than I am about these things. Or a dietician, or perhaps a friend can help.
If you are bored, get a hobby. They are not just fun, but creative activities will also help you in your journey to happiness, and you might lose a few pounds in the process.
Food is closely linked to our emotional state of mind, and we need to make sure that our health is always a primary concern, even if you are satisfied with your body weight.
Whatever you find and decide, make sure it is the best, most healthy solution for you. Keep noting your progress in your journal - living a healthy life is a lifetime journey after all.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Live in Balance: On leave, on veggies, and ongoing stuff

Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, Goals 2017, online journal
My leave finally got underway before Easter weekend and I have been merrily typing away at both blog posts for the Challenge and a new story I. It is going so well, that I will achieve my word count target for Camp NaNoWriMo at the middle of the month.

Hydroponics Project

Like many of you I love fresh vegetables. I have a vegetable garden, or rather had one, but have not been planting anything for a few years purely because of the time needed to look after a garden like that.
So to ease some of the burden of weeding (and the strain on my back) I have been researching the practicalities of setting up a hydroponics system for growing our own veggies again. I have now reached the point where I am busy buying the pipes and fittings, the planting pots and the water reservoir to get things going.
I have drafted Francois to help with the stands that support the system since my welding skills are way too rusty to attempt to do it myself. We went out shopping this weekend so I can order what I need and have it delivered while I am at home this coming week.
The only thing that I need to research some more is the pump I need. I have a submersible pump, but I think it is too small for the size of my project. While out shopping I saw quite a number of pumps, but I need to know what size I need before I let myself be talked into buying the wrong thing.

My Goals for 2017 are ongoing

A colleague of mine mentioned that she too was going on a diet. After about a week she had lost weight and mentioned that it wasn't easy. I agreed with her because I am on that same journey.
You will of course, understand my trepidation about getting on the scale yesterday morning, if I tell you that I went on a chocolate binge this past Thursday. Putting it off wasn't going to change the outcome, so eventually I got on and nearly fell off - nothing. I gained nothing. This could only mean that I lost some weight during the week, but clearly regained it on Thursday. Really stupid of me, I know. I could have had a chocolate, and still lost some weight if it hadn't been for the bingeing idiocy.
What did bother me more was the stress I put on my pancreas as a result of all that sugar. As someone that has to look after her blood sugar levels, I acted incredibly irresponsibly. While I hope the damage wasn't bad, I am suffering the aftereffects of all that sugar - my sleeping patterns have changed. It will take a few days and a good healthy diet, to get back to normal. And normal is what I need to work on the creative projects I want to do while on leave from work.
Balance is the key, not depriving myself of a sweet. I am losing weight, I shouldn't compromise my health by being stupid.

Reading and moving

About two weeks ago I volunteered to be an advanced reader for a book being released on Tuesday this coming week. I read the book and wrote my review and now it is back to my research books for the blog challenge.
In recent times I often find myself unable to sit still. Sure my back complains if I remain in one position for too long, but this is something else. Then it hit me: Tai Chi. I have been lax in my daily practice, so that too is priority for the week ahead. I love learning the 40 forms, but will have to go back a lesson or so, so refresh my memory before carrying on with the next lesson.
Lots of things to do, but looking forward to the days of relaxing with my art and writing projects.
Until next week!

The A-to-Z Challenge letters for the coming week are as follows:
Monday: Letter N…for Nutrition
Tuesday: Letter O…for Open (prompt)
Wednesday: Letter P…for Physical
Thursday: Letter Q…for Quote (prompt)
Friday: Letter R…for Ramble
Saturday: Letter S…for Share
If you missed any of the previous letters, here is a quick recap (just click the letter!)
A   B   C   D   E   F   G  H  I  J  K  L  M