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November Mixed Bag

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As usual, Fall is going really fast! The leaves are falling fast and it suddenly got really cold. Though Thanksgiving is still weeks away my mental To-Do list is tormenting me and will until I have a chance to get it out of my head and onto an actual list I can do something with. This month I am preparing for houseguests, trying to stay consistent with my daily health-span practices amidst the crush of Holiday, dispensing moving advice and getting excited for my kids to come Home for the Holidays. But first I’m heading to Spain! Welcome to this month’s Mixed Bag!

Barcelona Bound

This week I’m headed to Europe for the first time since 1998. I’ll be gone for a week and am planning to carry on – I love a packing challenge! Uncharacteristically I do not have all activities booked and reservations made. My friend Joan and I have some ideas (and tickets to see Women’s FC Barcelona!) but we are letting my daughter Charlotte (who is studying there this semester and is the reason for the trip) be our guide. I have a 105-Day Streak in Duo Lingo going and will likely be able to read signs and perhaps some menu items, the trip will be interesting from that perspective as well. Lots of new experiences which is good for soul and the brain – I’m really looking forward to it!

10 Daily Things

I’ve become a bit of a longevity and health-span nut, if I die before my 90’s it will not be my fault! I’ve started some daily habits in service of a longer quality of life that are delivering short-term benefits to my physical and mental health so I thought I’d share them here. I am a disciple of Dr. David Sinclair (Outlive by Peter Attia” target=”_blank”>Outlive) and John Medina (Zoe podcast. This is where I’m getting most of these ideas.

  1. Get Up Early. I’m naturally a morning person but the early morning is when I do alone time. Because it’s quiet and less crowded, I can really sink into a space that’s just for me.

  2. Move My Body. I workout pretty diligently 5 days a week but even on my off days I walk to move my body. Moving gets physical and mental juices flowing – I always feel refreshed and energetic when I’m done.

  3. Cold Shower. Studies have shown that regularly exposing your body to a little bit of cold stimulates longevity genes. The most convenient way for me to do that is a cold shower. It’s been a hard habit to keep (and Full Disclosure I have sucked at it since it got really cold!) but after the initial shock is over it’s fine and I feel great when it’s over.

  4.  Get Outside. Something about being in the GREEN every day is so mentally soothing. Maybe it’s because our brains have been attuned to green since our ancient ancestors looked for it as a sign that a water source was near… 

  5. Eat Mostly Whole Foods. The more I learn about nutrition the more ultra-processed foods I edit from my diet. They stimulate cravings and are linked to all kinds of bad health outcomes. Since I’ve pretty much cut them out I’ve experienced less craving and more energy. It’s even helping my menopause symptoms! 

  6. Connect with a Friend. The world’s longest study on Happiness has revealed that relationships are the key to a happy life. It makes me feel good to connect with at least one friend daily, even if it’s only a quick text exchange.

  7. Learn Something New. Spanish (via Duo Lingo) and Pickleball are two of my latest endeavors but I’m trying to lean into something I didn’t know on a daily basis. SO good for brain calisthenics

  8. Get Rid of Things I Don’t Need. My home is very organized and I make regular trips to the Goodwill but it’s a testament to the pure volume of stuff I’ve accumulated over a lifetime that I’m still identifying and finding things I don’t use or need anymore.

  9. Floss. I believe I’ve discussed this previously but my whole life I’ve been a terrible flosser. Now I’m tracking it daily and doing great.

  10. Read Before Bed. I’ve done this since I was a child but only now am I realizing what a healthy habit it is, both as the prelude to a good night’s sleep and the pursuit of something new.

I don’t succeed at all of these every single day, but I’m keeping a tally and giving myself a score at the end of each day. If I’m in the 7-10 range it was a good day and I am starting to see patterns around how I’m feeling physically but especially mentally if I start to fall off. It’s been a fun journey so far!

Move-In Advice

November marks the anniversary of moving into our newly remodeled kitchen (11 years ago.) I remember it so fondly (it was ready 5 days before Thanksgiving!) because it was exciting to be finished with a remodel and I had so much fun actually putting things away (foreshadow!) This past year I have helped multiple clients move into new spaces, whether it was a remodel or an entirely new home and I have the following advice to give to ensure you feel ‘at home’ as soon as possible.

  1. The Kitchen is the first priority. It’s the hub and the heart and it will give you a solid foundation as you move on to other spaces. If your kitchen is properly set up it will help the whole family acclimate faster.

  2. Put Your Mask On First. Get your own space (primary closet & bath) handled before the kids. If you can get yourself ready in the morning with no friction, that’s a huge step in the right direction. The kids can live in a little chaos, it won’t kill them. Setting your own space to rights will put you in a better mental place to help them get set up.

  3. Make a List. Once you’ve got the highest priority rooms set up, do a walk through and make a list of all the other spaces that are left. Then prioritize the list and break it up into sub-spaces. Because life doesn’t stop for your move it’s likely that it will take awhile to feel fully settled (unless you hire an organizer to help!) – a list will help you get through the rest of the home in a way that best enables a settled-in feeling. Even if it takes a while.

If you’ve got moving stress, houseguests looming or travel planned you are layering it on top of the craziest time of year. Strap in for the roller coaster ride, it may make you a little nauseous but it will be over fast! 😂

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