S is for Saturday, S is for sleep

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 31 May 2014 | 0 Comments

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It's been five full days of little changes. Coincidence or not, I had the energy last night to take in an evening of amazing performances by young musicians at our provincial music festival: solo performers, high school students, forcing air through brass instruments in ways that made your spine tingle, or offering up musical theatre performers that made you think,for a moment, they were really an unwed father, a waitress, or Fanny Bryce. As unique as their selections, disciplines and adjudicators, there was one unifying piece of advice. Keep it simple. 

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Airing things out: KISS Day 5

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 30 May 2014 | 0 Comments

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Just breathe. Well-meaning folks would tell me that, and I would want to choke them. What do you mean, breathe? What do you think I'm doing, flapping my gills? Of course I'm breathing, you twit! How is that going to help me calm down/finish this presentation/get through the next five minutes? It turns out they were being very helpful, and I was/am the twit. Most days, without thought, my breathing is so constricted and uncommitted that the air I take in could barely keep a bird alive, even a tiny bird, like a robin. An adult at rest can take 12-20 breaths per minute. Those breaths need to fill the lungs with air. That air contains the oxygen our body needs for its own internal combustion. We can go days without water and weeks without food, but only a few minutes without oxygen. yet when we're stressed or preoccupied, our muscles constrict and our breathing gets shallow, reducing our flow of oygen when we need it the most. But that's what burnout feels like, at least to me: body, mind and spirit all arguing and pushing each other around like drunken siblings at a family reunion, desperate to connect but too damaged and immature to figure out how. 

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KISS Day Four: Where's the rest?

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 29 May 2014 | 0 Comments

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   I can't remember the last time I did anything four days in a row, which is no doubt why I am now engaged in a search for healing. An unstructured schedule completely adrift on the tide of life sounds like a paradise, but the reality is most of us need some sort of anchor, base or structure to call home. For now, my structure is this 30-day challenge to heal my fried adrenals through tiny, realistic changes. And do you know what? After only three full days, I have a concrete result to report. 

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Time to bounce: KISS Day Three

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 28 May 2014 | 0 Comments

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We have drink. We have food. Time to add a little motion. Sitting is an occupational hazard for writers. Some authors have, and do, write standing up or lying down but call me old-fashioned, I need to be seated to do what I do. Granted, I do it atop a yoga ball. I gave up my desk chair more than two years ago thinking the ball seat would strengthen my core and whip those flabby abs into shape. It didn't. Seems nothing can take the place of actually moving one's muscles to tone and sculpt. The irony of exercise, though, is that it can be as unhealthy as healthy, depending on your body type, health conditions, and preferred method of movement. Some bodies, especially those in the throes of burnout, can actually become more stressed with exercise, resulting in greater fatigue, achiness, and stubborn weight retention. However, as my body is pretty much at rest all the time, a little motion needs to be incorporated. My solution? A wee indoor trampoline. My naturopathic doctor suggested it months ago as a possible remedy for the fluid buildup in my legs. Another admission - I have the legs of a 500-pound 90 year old. At certain times of the month my lower legs swell to nearly the size of my thighs, my ankles disappear, and I can forget wearing any footwear that doesn't have velcro. My ND suggested five minutes a day on the trampoline.I tried it. I liked it. My legs felt less tight. Then, as with all my health improvement plans to date, I stopped. Got busy, was away, etc etc etc. No thought that I could have run on the spot, danced, did jumping jacks instead. 

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Adding some crunch: KISS Day Two

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 27 May 2014 | 0 Comments

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Here we are,  Keep It Super Simple path to feeling better, Day Two. So far so good with the water, the only issue being increased demand for the facilities (five people, two bathrooms, you get the idea). Today, I'm feeling the need for crunch. Crunching is so satisfying to the senses: it feels good, sounds impressive, adds attitude to the mundane. My favourite walk is a path steeped in the spent leaves of autumn. My favourite snacks: Doritos, tortillas, kettle chips, popcorn smothered in white cheddar powder ... yum. However, since it is spring (or supposed to be) in Nova Scotia, the only thing crunching underfoot are my dreams of sunshine and while my snacks are craved by mouth and mind, my body and spirit are politely raising their hands and pleading for something with a vitamin, maybe a mineral, too, if it's not too much trouble. So, my addition for today: add a half-cup of vegetables to my daily diet. I actually like veggies, even for breakfast when I saute onions and peppers to go with my scrambled eggs. But most of us don't eat enough; 7-8 servings for a girl my age, according to Canada's Food Guide. One serving is half a green pepper, a quarter of a cucumber, a carrot. I'm going to eat my extra serving raw for the crunch and at night to start weaning myself from the fat fest that is my evening snack. The raw veggie thing is also a great habit former as we in Nova Scotia roll into our natural fresh produce season. Local farmer's markets, including our awesome New Glasgow market, are now open for the season. Local farm fresh - good in so many ways. 

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30 days to feeling better, Day One

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 26 May 2014 | 2 Comments

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       I was supposed to be releasing a new book this month. I'm not. I could blame my schedule, my business partner, global economics and the consistent lack of spring in our Nova Scotia weather and believe me, I have. All it gave me was heartburn and more fatigue. I need spring all right, but spring in my step is the real thing lacking in my life, and while all of the above are contributing factors, the cause lies firmly with me and my choices. According to the charts, I am in the throes of burnout. In the words of my naturopath: my adrenals are 'shot.' I need to fix this now. I know that. I also know that my insurance company will not pay for six months in the south of France. The added wrinkle: I am a lousy patient. I lack discipline for daily gym visits and embrace my nightly couch-potato stance as a sacred ritual. But I am also tired of my own excuses for being, well, tired. So I'm launching an experiment, a give-myself-a-KISS a day program, changing the acronym a bit to replace the negative with a positive. Are there little things I can add to my routine each day to help my body heal? I'm giving myself 30 days to find out. Each day, I'll post one thing I'm adding or changing in my day. Each week, I'll recap and post any noticeable results. Will it work? Who knows, but it beats sitting here whining about my lack of energy and all the things I haven't done.

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