January is rockin’ this year!

I remember last January…

Twice in the emergency room. Coughing, back outta whack, vertigo as the cherry on top. I was completely reliant on Mr Wez for everything. I spent most of my time on the couch with pillows propping my legs up, watching Parks and Recreation and The Office over and over just to stay sane (thank goodness for Netflix!).

It was… unpleasant, to say the least.

I’m so happy to report that this January is frickin’ amazing so far. Let me count the ways:

  1. I am totally rockin’ the #52HikeChallenge. 26070619_1079345728874818_3837704131112337408_nI’ve completed 4 of the 52 hikes I promised to complete this year and it’s not even the middle of the month! Four. I’ve hiked in rain, hiked when I was sore, hiked ’til I felt like throwing up (okay, that moment was not my best but I assure you I was totally safe and am just super deconditioned!), and have increased my distance each and every time. If you’re interested in following my hiking endeavors more closely, check out my “WanderWez” Twitter account for updates, photos. etc.
  2. I’m feeling strong. I haven’t been really sick this season with cold or flu, and even with all the hiking I’m not feeling super sore for very long. I’m a little tight and wobbly the evening after a hike, but by the next morning I’m rarin’ to go. I purchased some new hiking boots on New Year’s Eve and my feet are loving them. It’s so nice to be able to hike without my feet aching for days afterwards! As for not being sick, I’m planning to get a flu shot this week (I’m late, but the flu’s bad this year peeps – go contribute to that sweet herd immunity!) so hopefully I can dodge that bullet.
  3. I’m having fun with my streams! I’ve been focused on playing what I want instead of what I think will “score me more viewership”. I had a LOT of fun streaming classic The Oregon Trail, re-living my 5th grade cross-country adventures, not killing off all my in-game pioneer family, and using my hillbilly accent. I need more games where I can read aloud ‘cuz it’s, like, my favorite thing! I’ll admit, my streams have mostly been me playing PUBG – and I’m happy to report that I feel like I’m getting mildly better. I’m seeing small improvements to my engagements with other players, and have even run my first squads ever with Erin over at Let’s Make Friends (one of my favorite partnered streamers!), and some duos with Snoozzzalot (another fave streamer!).
  4. My mood is good! You may not know this, but I live with recurrent depression. It rears its ugly head pretty often in my life, sometimes just threading its way into my thoughts and other times completely capturing my whole being such that I can’t even get out of bed. I wouldn’t say I manage it very well, but for this holiday season I haven’t had any issues and I’m feeling really steady so far this year. My hope is that with all the hiking I can keep the good chemicals firing.

I hope all of you are also having an amazing January. I’ll report back on my resolutions progress (or, what I realize I should’ve called them: “Wezolutions”!) as the end of the month nears, but (spoiler alert!) the drumming hasn’t happened yet. Ruh roh, better get on that! 😬

Happy New Year! 2018 Edition

Wasn’t 2017 just awful? Like, I experienced a lot of nagging, near-constant terribleness throughout. A whopping case of bronchitis at the top of the year led swiftly (and directly) to throwing out my lower back, which kept me bed-ridden for like a month. I battled vertigo, I re-injured my back right before a big birthday trip (which was thusly cancelled), and then strangely I developed an acute case of debilitating tendinitis in my right hand that I suffered with for over a month (as soon as my back felt good again, naturally) , that only a ginormous shot helped relieve.

Not to mention we got the biggest lame-o president ever, here in the States, but that’s just, like, macro-level stuff that I can’t even fathom right now.

Suffice it to say: I’m so done with 2017.

[A little aside here that it wasn’t all bad – some really cool stuff happened in 2017, too: I completed my 2017 Goodreads Challenge by reading over 24 books (averaging 337 pages!), and I became an Affiliate on Twitch and made a bunch of new friends online who are totally stellar humans!]

goodreads

But as the year came to a close and I spent a couple of amazing weeks with Mr. Wez and Benny, I felt really buoyed and optimistic about this new year. Assuming my body doesn’t murder me this year, it can only get better, right? (Best not to check King Orange-One’s tweets right now…)

So as the December days crawled towards their end and January was nearly upon us, I began to imagine what I wanted to do with myself in 2018. How could I take the proverbial reins and find some absorbing challenges for myself that would give me a sense of ownership in this time of my life where everything feels like super cray-cray? A few things sprang to mind, and I’ll share them here!

In no particular order:

Stream more, but don’t take it as seriously. This first half of this would be almost impossible not to do since I had to take a bunch of time off in 2017 when my back and hand went out. I’m going a step further and extending my hours by two each streaming day (starting at 2pm pacific time instead of 4pm). As for the not taking it as seriously: I’ve been approaching streaming as a job. I track my income, keep receipts, constantly strive to improve quality, pay a lot of attention to followers gained and lost… Only one of those is really valuable right now, and I’ll let you guess which. I need to take a step back, breathe a bit, and take stock in why I got involved on Twitch in the first place: it’s a platform I totally dig, using technology I totally dig, whilst playing videogames (which I also, totally dig). I’m gonna work at taking the “work” out of streaming. And who knows, maybe more fun = more friends?

goodreads2

Continue reading. I set my 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal to 18 books – splitting the difference between 2016 and 2017, because while I still wanna push my reading, I wanna spread out my bonus time to more endeavors. I still can’t believe I’ve completed these challenges two years in a row! Would you like to take the challenge with me? Feel free to find and friend me here on Goodreads!

Drum more. Many of you may not know that I was quite the accomplished little drummer girl in high school. I was in all the school bands (marching band, drumline, jazz band, wind ensemble – I even made the All-American High School Band!), and was also in my fair share of cringe-named rock bands who played even-more-cringe-named venues (“The Vampyr Lounge”, which was an early-90’s era local coffee shop **cringe**). I have an amazing Roland V-drum kit gathering dust in the guest room and I can’t believe I don’t play it more. It’s always so fun (and quite the workout!), so I’m promising myself to play at least once a week – even if for only one punishing Queens of the Stone Age song!

Get outside. I love hiking. Like, more than I should what with having clumsy, arthritic feet. 2014 was the year I got serious about hiking and exploring the Pacific Northwest – I never felt so empowered and adventurous! 52hikeI wanna get back to ascending those heights, walking through tree-filled forests, and generally getting the good kind of sore and sweaty. I have a lot of conditioning to do, but what better way to do it than attempt the #52HikeChallenge? I stumbled across this challenge on Instagram and while it seems daunting, it also totally seems doable. WanderWez is born! I’ll be sharing more of my hiking exploits here and on Twitter, so stay tuned.

I think that’s more-than-enough resolutions for me this year. I feel like this list is more the embracing-one’s-wants type of list than a rejecting-one’s-flaws type, and I feel pretty great about that. What resolutions have you made for yourself for 2018?  Share in the comments!

 

#WellnessWezday #3

Does doing this three times in a row mean it’s a habit yet?? I sure hope so. So this is the third installment of my weekly #WellnessWezday progress update. This is the first one I’m finding a bit of a challenge, because for some reason this past week left me a little disappointed in myself.

Which is why I’m checking myself now – there is no disappointment on #WellnessWezday, ya dork! (I’m referring to myself, of course)

Sure, I had a pretty lazy weekend and had some emotional ups and downs, but I still did some pretty awesome activities that further my desire for balance in my health and well-being.

Like last Thursday, I went out in the hot, hot August-in-Seattle heat and did some hiking at a nearby state park on the shores of Lake Washington. It was gorgeous outside, and the challenge was REAL! In actuality I think I pushed myself a bit too hard, but I did it nonetheless.

 

 

It’s here I’ll talk a little bit about mental and physical walls. I’ve worked with a personal trainer before when trying to get fit, and I know that most of us have a tendency to see boundaries a little too early when we’re working out. Most of these are mental walls. Now, there are some trainers out there who are maybe a little too gung-ho about walls being merely mental, and will expect you to push yourself past your limits. A little is okay – heck, pushing past a wall can end up feeling downright amazing! But then there are those barriers that one should respect: feeling dizzy, experiencing tunnel-vision, feeling nauseated…

Those are some barriers I ran up against last Thursday. And there was a part of me that said, “Push past it, keep walking, keeping your heart rate up will be good for you!” But then there was the healthy part of me that said, “No, you can stop to take a break and wait until your heart isn’t busting out of your chest anymore. Drink some water, stand in the shade, respect your current fitness level.”

The fact is that I’m not an athlete at peak condition. I’m a heavy-set woman in her early 40’s (I know, right???) who is slowly working her way towards better fitness. I don’t need to go balls-to-the-wall every time I set out on a nature walk. This is a struggle for me, because I get into a lot of all-or-nothing thinking with a dash (okay, a landfill) of competitiveness thrown in. If I’m not one-upping myself at each opportunity, I have an inner voice that likes to tell me I’m not pushing hard enough and that it doesn’t count if I’m not going all out.

Well that inner voice isn’t serving me well anymore, if it was ever serving me at all. And this week I allowed myself to pay attention to that voice not as “reality”, but as a facet of my upbringing and inner self that isn’t telling me the truth. A facet that isn’t showing compassion. A facet that is maybe trying to be helpful, but is like that wacky aunt who doesn’t know how to help without hurting a little, too.

This week I’m choosing to hear that voice, politely tell it to hush up, and to embrace myself – every part of myself: my resilience, my humor, my intelligence, and yes- my limits. These limits will slowly fall away and I’ll have new limits to target. That’s called progress!

Weekly Stats:

  • Fitbit Step Count: 19, 369
  • Pants Test: Some of my pants actually felt downright baggy this week. Better than too tight! Comfort is the best.
  • Personal measure of wellness: This past week was tough, felt like a slip, but I’m staying on top of it and staying positive.

 

 

#WellnessWezday #2

Well friends, we’re here for the second installment of my weekly progress update: #WellnessWezday! This past week (August 10th through August 16th, 2016) was a banner week, filled with activity and enjoying the Seattle sun while it lasts. Building on the previous week’s breakthrough involving putting shoes on (which for me is no small feat… get it???), this week was about honoring (without caving into) my limits.

What does that mean? It means that yeah, I was eager to go hiking on Thursday, but while I let my friends goad me into a trip over to Rattlesnake Ledge, I didn’t force myself to get to the very top.

 

That was tough. I tend to fall into all-or-nothing thinking, and something about not getting to the top brings up a lot of feelings of inferiority, or not finishing the job. But the reality is that I’m really out of shape. I can’t just tell my body to press on and expect it to rise to the occasion. Sure, I can push myself – going hiking alone is quite a feat for me regardless of its length – but pushing past reasonable limits would likely not lead to glory, but to injury.

I’ve ascended Rattlesnake Ledge before. Back in May of 2014 I tried it for the first time (at the peak of my physical fitness), and celebrated at the top. So when I was roughly halfway up on Thursday, it was not easy for me to make the decision to turn around. That belittling voice was trying to persuade me that the hike “wouldn’t count” if I couldn’t take a selfie at the top.

But the healthy part of me – the balanced part that is willing to live in the grey area – knew that every step counts towards the pursuit of a fitter me. And it also knew that hiking downhill is often more calamitous for me than the reverse direction, and that if I wanted to make it down without tiredly, clumsily twisting an ankle or face-planting, the time to turn around had arrived.

Other awesomeness in my week included another trip to a local beach park with the pup where, after walking laps around the pier in 80-degree Fahrenheit heat, I finally succeeded in encouraging him to get out into the lake. We played fetch into the shallow shore of Lake Washington and it was simply delightful. He loved it, and I loved it!

 

Finally, yesterday I missed my Tuesday stream for a very good reason: I was invited to do a PokeWalk with some friends from my old workplace at one of the best places to play PokemonGO in the whole world: Bellevue’s Downtown Park. I’m serious, the vibe is crazy at this park! I felt a little like a lemming, migrating with the crowd from one spawn to the next.

 

As silly as it was, I got something like nine new (to me) Pokemon and had a lot of fun getting steps and working up a sweat in a downright jovial atmosphere.

Weekly Stats:

  • Fitbit Step Count: 38,197 (+12.8% increase)
  • Pants Test: Bought some ostentatious blue pants about 2 months ago – they’re getting loose!
  • Personal measure of wellness: My feet are usually sore at the end of the day, but I’ve been bouncing back quickly!