As we step into the new year, I've chosen the word 'cleanse' to guide my journey through 2024. This powerful term resonates with me on various levels-- financial, physical, spiritual, and emotional. Despite the successes of 2023, I've identified areas in need of attention, particularly my work-life balance and overall well-being.
Cleanse... let it be the purifying force that washes away the clutter, rejuvenates the spirit, and unveils a canvas of renewed possibilities. Embrace the power of cleansing, for within it lies the essence of transformation and the artistry of a refreshed journey.
As a dedicated middle school science teacher, prioritizing work over physical health has led to stress and emotional detachment. I am in my third year of teaching after an extended 14 year break. While each year gets easier, I am still working approximately 12 hours each day to prepare lessons using a new curriculum, grading assignments, communicating with families, building relationships with students, coordinating the yearbook, and completing other professional obligations.
This work load leaves very little time to focus on other areas of my life that deserve the same amount of focus and dedication.
As a result of the long working hours, I do not dedicate any time toward exercise and movement. The continued weight gain due to a lack of physical activity is impacting me both physically and emotionally. Maintaining a healthy weight-to-height ratio has been integral to my confidence. Addressing this, I commit to incorporating walking and Pilates into my routine in 2024. While goal setting typically is a strength of mine, exercise is one goal I have never been able to maintain.
My hope is that my guiding word 'cleanse' will keep me focused and on losing weight with an increase in physical activity.
Strive not for a perfect balance between work and life, but for a harmonious integration of both, where each enhances the other, creating a symphony of fulfillment and well-being.
As a survivor of ocular melanoma, the emotional stress remains palpable. Monthly injections of Eylea to preserve my eyesight are constant, contributing to my emotional burden. I am blessed to have routine scans that indicate no evidence of metastatic disease, but 'Scanxiety' is still strong even 5 years post diagnosis and treatment. Strengthening my body through a healthier lifestyle becomes a key goal to prevent additional health issues and support my overall well-being.
Managing my medullary sponge kidney condition necessitates continuous attention. For over 20 years, I have been producing kidney stones and battling frequent infections. Typically, I just pass small stones without awareness or symptoms. However, at various times in my life, my stones will grow in size and may require intervention. I am currently in one of those times and the discomfort is physically and emotionally draining. Collaborating closely with my urologist, I aim to explore strategies for better management, including increased water intake to prevent stone growth. Additionally, I've personally decided to reduce alcohol consumption to support my liver and kidneys and maintain overall health.
Recognizing the importance of a holistic approach, I plan to visit a naturopath provider this year. This step involves exploring hormone levels, assessing dietary changes tailored to my body, and considering supplements that may assist in achieving optimal health.
In the face of medical challenges, perseverance becomes the silent architect of healing, while attention to overall physical health emerges as the steadfast guardian of resilience. Together, they construct a pathway to triumph over adversity and a foundation for a thriving, resilient life.
With two teenage daughters approaching college, financial strains have become apparent. My husband and I were not prepared for the amount of financial demands of raising daughters in high school; hair products, shoes, orthodontics, skin care medications, cars and insurance, extra curricular activity fees and travel, fancy dresses for school dances, etc. To alleviate this burden, I aim to reassess our spending habits, preparing for the future without sacrificing our current comfort. In addition to the financial stress of raising teens, the interpersonal relationships are also more challenging. As they explore their independence, discipline and parental coaching has become harder and there is constant worry of their mental health, friendships, and ability to manage everything they are balancing in life. Navigating the challenges of raising teenagers will involve finding constructive ways to connect with my daughters during their journey toward independence.
Understanding my tendency to withdraw during high-stress periods, I plan to redirect my energy. Instead of immersing myself solely in work, I'll prioritize building stronger connections with my family. I commit to using free time more productively, engaging in activities like meal planning and exercise that contribute positively to my overall well-being. I also recognize the need to reconnect with my spiritual journey. As my daughters navigate independence and we've stepped away from regular church attendance, I plan to reintegrate spiritual practices into my life. This involves exploring avenues that resonate with our beliefs, fostering a renewed sense of connection and grounding amidst life's challenges.
Mastering the art of stress management is the key to unlocking the door to a healthier, more vibrant life. The impact of serenity on overall well-being is not just a choice, but a prescription for a flourishing existence.
By incorporating these steps into my 'cleanse' journey, I'm embarking on a transformative and comprehensive approach to well-being—addressing physical health, emotional resilience, and spiritual fulfillment throughout 2024.