Sunday, June 28, 2015

Keeping it Simple with Water

This past week I had an opportunity to write a guest article for our local newspaper, the Blytheville Courier News.   I opted to write about the simple steps of hydration. I am still trying to find some balance in life and in my role of nurse practitioner, nursing educator, entrepreneur by keeping things simple are important to me.
Drinking water is simple, easy and inexpensive. Yet, so many people I see in my practice drink sweet tea, soda or energy drinks instead of water.
Every cell in your body needs water. That is why it is important to drink enough fluid.  Did you know that muscle consist of 75% water, your brain consists of 90% water, bone consist of 22% water, and blood consist of 83% water. If you do not supply your body with enough water your brain cannot function well, this can even cause a headache or a migraine.
As we approach summer and temperatures above ninety degrees, you should be aware of the symptoms of dehydration such as, dark urine, dry skin, thirst, hunger, and fatigue.
Dehydration can make you feel tired, become constipated, have muscle cramps, a headache, irregular blood pressure and even kidney problems.  Becoming more than twenty percent dehydrated can put you at risk for death. 
We lose water through sweating, exhaling, and urination. In hot weather, you tend to lose more water through sweating, in cold conditions, you tend to urinate more.  When you are ill, like with flu and diarrhea you tend to loose fluid.
How much water should you drink in a day to avoid dehydration?  We have all heard we need to drink eight glasses of water a day, but in reality there is no clear-cut answer to how much water to drink per day.  Water intake depends on several factors like your health condition, your activity status, the climatic conditions, physical size, your weight, and your environment.  
Here is your challenge using the formula below on an average day determine if you are drinking enough water to be healthy. 
Your weight is 150 lbs.  Divide you weight by 2 – the result is the amount of water in ounces you should drink every day. 150 ÷ 2 = 75 (you should drink 75 ounces of water per day). 

So, have you had enough water today? 
~ Connie ~

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ending My Unproductive Time on Social Media

This week has been another challenging week.  I have struggled all week to minimize my sleep debt, find some time for me and keep the rest of my life balanced.  
I have been focusing on identifying ways to minimize wasted time in my day.
In thinking about how to improve my productivity I found some interesting statistics.The average employee will spend 12% of the working day using unproductive applications, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. This amounts to 65 hours a month, which have not been used productively, according to data analyzed by Desk Time
According to other research, people in the U.S. check their Facebook, Twitter, and other social media account 17 times a day, meaning at least once every waking hour, if not more 
I am no exception - when I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I grab my phone and check Facebook
 or twitter. 

Why do I use diversion to support procrastination?  Maybe it is human nature to avoid things we don't want to do??? Maybe I am lazy? Maybe it is just that I am more interested in social media than the things I need to do? 

Either way - social media is impacting how I use my time. 

So - I am making an effort to limit my time on Facebook by not opening the app at work except at lunch. I am not grabbing my phone first thing in the morning.

I would love to know how you handle social media. Do you find social media taking up productive time? How do you limit your time on social media?

Monday, June 08, 2015

On a Journey with My Best Friend

I am married to my best friend - and we have been on a journey for 20 years.  This journey hasn't always been easy - we have raised 5 kids, bought and completed rebuild a home, faced retirement and health issues, rescued a few dogs, opened a business and loved each other unconditionally.
The Big Man spent 25 years as a police officer, he is now the City of Blytheville Building Inspector and is the Justice of the Peace for Mississippi County District 8. Besides me, he loves his guns, hunting, food, our children, dogs (he is allergic to cats). 
He literally walked into my life.  We meet at the park running. He doesn't know it but, I almost quit running that night.  Being competitive I thought I had to keep up with him - all 6'3 inches of him with my 5'2' frame.
He loves my children as his own, accepted my houseful of dogs, learned how to trout fish, bought me a tractor and chickens.  Has supported me during my 18 years of formal education.  Helped me loose weight, meet the military weight and physical fitness standards and supported me during my time in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps Reserves.  He has been my biggest cheerleader as I struggled to open a free health clinic and my own family nurse practitioner office.  He has shielded me from mice and even used a live trap to trap the mice and relocate them rather than kill them so - I would not cry and feel guilty about killing the mice.  He is beside me everyday on this horrible journey of dementia my dad is taking us down. He has laughed at me, made me laugh and cried with me. He has prayed with me and for me... he is my everything.
We never go to bed mad - we always say I love when leaving each other or ending a phone call.  I can't imagine this journey through life without him....I am so glad you stopped by my blog today to meet my best friend. I would love to hear about your best friend.
~ Connie ~

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Dementia Sucks

Living with a family member that has dementia is difficult, there I said it!  
Dementia sucks!
In August of last year my then 86 year-old father came to live with us.  He was beginning to have some memory issues.  The issues were starting to impact his life - he was a risk when driving, he was starting to have anger issues, he did not always remember to eat or to take his medication.  He had started having difficulty managing his finances.
 Ready or not we drove to Texas and brought him to our home in Northeast AR. This was a big move for a man who was born and raised in Texas and never had any plans of moving out of Texas.

The first few months we adjusted.  The Big Man and our youngest son pitched in and we established a routine for providing care for Pops.
Routines are important for people with dementia.  Structure helps keep things constant which minimizes the confusing that occurs with dementia.
But, we were not prepared for the feelings that come with watching a vibrant independent person loose their ability to be able to recall dates, memories of their life, or complete simple daily task.
Life will never be the same - it is like loosing someone you love, yet they are still standing right in front of you.
Next week we are headed to the geriatric specialist - I know there is nothing we can do to stop this demon called dementia, but maybe we can slow the process down?? maybe we can find a way to accept what the next months or years may hold??? maybe we can find ways to make Pop's life less forgetful???

Dementia sucks!  Over the next few weeks I will be sharing information on dementia on my business blog - Connie's Family Practice  stop by and check out what I learn as Pops and my family fight the demon Dementia. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sleep Debt?

Another week and I am still not where I want to be - I am still working hard on being mindful of the moment - but it is really difficult.  I have almost finished reading Lara Casey's book "Make it Happen."  I highly recommend the book - it is a great starting point for prioritizing and remembering.
I have come to realize this week that one of my issues is rest.  I work 12-16 hour days Monday - Friday. Saturday I try to catch up spending time with my family and dogs. Then Sunday I am exhausted - all I want to do is sleep, eat, and watch TV. 
Coco Chanel Sleeping In
Getting too little sleep creates a "sleep debt," which is much like being overdrawn at a bank. Eventually, your body will demand that the debt be repaid. We don't seem to adapt to getting less sleep than we need, while we may get used to a sleep-depriving schedule, our judgment, reaction time, and other functions are still impaired.
Meme and Coco Sleeping Buddies
So - Sunday has become my day to repay my sleep debt.  But, I feel like I can not give up a whole day - I feel like I am wasting a whole day.  There are so many things I want to do on Sundays - run, yoga, quilt, scrapbook, and I get nothing done.
Oreo Getting Ready for Bed
My goal next week, starting tonight is to be in bed by 10 PM, no TV maybe a little reading.  Up at 6 AM.  No hitting the snooze button.  This will allow me to have some me time. 
Have you ever suffered from sleep debt? If so, how did you keep from getting back into debt?
~ Connie ~

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Finding Balance When Life Throws a Curve Ball

If you have been following my blog you know, I have been on a journey to find balance.  Last weekend I had a total meltdown, a far cry from finding balance.  The Big Man (aka the Love of My Life) sustained a fracture to his foot.   My backup is out of commission.
In the first few months of our marriage I quickly realized that as a police officer The Big Man loved his job but he had taken a vow of poverty.  We had five children at home and a very tight budget.  One day I happened to see his paycheck from a part-time job.  Immediately I realized we were never going to financially make ends meet by simply adding his part time job.
The Big Man 
So, we sat down and had a conversation about money.  I offered him the deal of a lifetime. If he would assume some of the  household responsibilities I would pickup a part-time job.  As a registered nurse, I could work an 8 hour shift and make three times what he made in eight hours of part-time work.   He agreed, we had to do what was best for everyone. Feeding growing boys cost a fortune and with the children quickly approaching the age where they would have financial needs (camps, cars, graduation, and college) this swap in household duties was a viable option.

The Big Man and the Girls
So - The Big Man and the kids picked up laundry duty, grocery shopping, meal preparation and general household cleaning duties.  I worked - often six twelve hour shifts.   But, we paid off $30,000 in credit card debt that The Big Man had from his first marriage, we bought a home  and we provided for the kids. The children each participated in band, sports, summer camps, etc.  They had everything they needed and sometimes a little extra.
My Stinky Boys Christmas 2014
At this same time I was pursing a Bachelor's Degree (eventually a Master's and a Post-Masters Degree) and serving in the Army Nurse Reserves.  The household duties all somehow shifted to the Big Man. He cooked dinner every night, made sure the laundry was done, the kids got to school and their events, and the house was clean.
Over the years this arrangement has made me very dependent on the Big Man.
Duck Hunting - I Pray for the duck's safety while he hunts
After my melt down this weekend, I have regrouped, prayed a lot and come to the realization that life could be a whole lot worst, three was a time last year when the specialist thought the Big Man had lung cancer. So, I get up a couple of hours earlier and I go to bed a little later.  I have our new house helper work a little more and the Big Man's foot heals.  In six weeks the walking boot comes off and life goes back to normal.  Till then - responsibilities change a little and I find a new point of balance. In the greater scheme of life - I still have the Big Man and life goes on.

What happens when you find yourself with new responsibilities? How do you find balance when life throws you a curve ball?
~ Connie~

Monday, May 25, 2015

Doing Less and Living More

I am a woman who does to much - I run a family practice, I manage a volunteer free health clinic, I teach nursing online, I own a boarding kennel, I am doggie mom to 14 rescue dogs, five adult children, 5 awesome grandsons, my 87 year old father who has dementia has moved in with  us, I volunteer with the humane society (currently we are boarding 2 puppies and 2 adult dogs that need homes), I accepted a position on the county Republican committee, and now my husband is on crutches. For some reason the crutches feel like the last straw. 

 I am feeling stressed and out of balance- probably there are a few of you out there that are just as stressed as I am. Feeling stressed  is not proportionate to the number of task on your to-do-list or the amount of things you are involved in, it is a feeling, it is a mental status - a state of mental tension and worry.

My husband's crutches are not the cause of my stress.  The cause of my stress is having a full schedule and knowing the one person I depend on the most is not able to help me. 

Having a full schedule is my own doing. I have filled my schedule to over-flowing. I've accepted too much to-do.  Other people and outside forces do not cause my stress I do. So with God's help and a fresh outlook, I will be weeding down my to-do-list.  Learning to say no.  
The first step is to scale down volunteer activities - I totally believe in everything I am involved in but the Humane Society and the Republican committee obligations have to go.  Attending meetings and organizing fund raisers takes time - time I need to focus on me and my family.

The second step -  go back to a paper planner. I have been randomly writing out to-do-list and trying to use my iPhone.  I hate to admit it but I am a old fashion paper and pencil kind of girl, but I am.
So, out comes the old fashion planner.
The third step - finding time for me.  Using my paper planner I am going to schedule time for me to do some of the things I want to do and some down time.  I realized today when I was to tired to get off the couch - I actually slept for 3 hours curled up in the den while all the other members of my house moved about the den, watched TV, and the dogs barked.

I know I will stumble as I try to implement these three steps, but stumbling is part of God's plan for us.  I honestly do not believe that God's plan is for me to be running around like a crazy person trying to be everything to everyone. Learning to listen and follow his plan is hard.  This is a journey - the final destination is not perfection - but rather living the abundant life that God has planned for me.

So - what have you done to address stress in your life?  or what steps have you taken to do less and live more?
~ Connie ~