Friday, February 16, 2018

The Happygirl Wellbeing Experiment Week 2: The White Noise Machine

One of my top ten favorite things is staying in a great hotel. It isn't the feeling of getting away or the breakfast on the patio or even the languid, happy feeling of sitting by the pool. Instead, for me, it's the sleep, the complete knocked out, wonderful eight hours of sleep that I get in a hotel. I love that sensation of sliding into cool, smooth sheets and falling asleep listening to the drone of the room's air conditioning. At home, I just never sleep this well. It is a battle for me to get three to four hours of sleep a night. This, of course, affects my day, my wellbeing, my fitness program and my happiness.

Countless studies have shown that without proper sleep, your body (and mind) don't function at their optimal ability. One study even shows that without thorough sleep, your emotions can run amok and your brain will overdramatize events of the day. You can become irrational and your immune system takes a hit. Without the right amount of quality sleep, your entire system reacts negatively.

As part of this new wellbeing experiment (and weight loss program), I am interested not only in the weight loss aspect but also in how the rest of my body and mind are reacting to my environment. I have never slept well. My mind is always going, listening to every sound, thinking thinking thinking. I am laying there in the quiet and while my body may be tired, my mind starts reeling ("Did I move enough today? I need to get in more steps. Where do I walk a lot? Oh, Walt Disney World. I love Disney. I like Dole Whips. . .") And that is one reason that I don't sleep well.

Lately, I've been thinking about my best sleep and how we can recreate the kind of sleep we get in hotels. We started by buying different sheets (a future post) and two weeks ago, L. bought me a white noise machine. The ElctroFan High Fidelity White Noice Machine is a miracle. While I have tried several other white noise machines and sound soothers in the past, none come close to this one. One reason being that the sound is non-looping. When you're falling asleep, your bran can detect repetitive sounds. For example, one sound soother we purchased for the baby featured sounds on a short loop, Every time the loop started over (it was almost imperceptible), I could hear it and it jarred me awake. This ElectroFan features non-looping white noise that sounds just like an air conditioner. It also features different frequencies, similar to the sounds of oscillating fans, air conditioners and air purifiers. We fine-tuned the volume and the depth of sound, until we found one that felt right. We fell asleep quickly and stayed asleep. It was exactly what my brain needed to quiet itself.

Also, if you have ambient noise from traffic, neighbors or other family members in the house, turn up the volume and this will shut out even the most distracting sounds.

For a perfect night's sleep, there's always The Four Seasons, but the ElectroFan is a good alternative. I highly recommend this machine for your wellbeing. For travel, ElectroFan also makes a micro version. The sound you get from this tiny machine is incredible. It will knock out even the loudest party happening next door. We won't travel without this.

Weight loss February 1- today: 16 pounds.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The text when you're missing someone

Sometimes when I am out, I think I see someone I know in a crowd but then I remember that this friend lives 3000 miles away in Massachusetts. This is what happens when you miss someone you love. You think you see them everywhere. So, I sent my friend the words above to convey just how much I miss them. Distance doesn't hold a candle to love.

If  you miss someone too, tell them. Even if it's just a brief text to let them know that they are never far from your mind. In a crowd, a little part of you will always search for them.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Happy Video: Grandpas in a Donut Shop singing from "The Lion King"

My grandfather (Pepe) left such an indelible imprint on my heart that I still today have a soft spot for grandpas. I came across this video of grandpas in a coffee shop singing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and I like this even more than the original. I hope you enjoy it too.

Monday, February 12, 2018

This Week's Thought: February 12, 2018

The pile of brand new nightgowns (mostly flannel with ruffles) were in a neat stack in my grandmother's armoire. We discovered them when my grandmother's health started to fail and she needed to move in with a family member for more help with her day-to day life. There they were, brand new nightgowns with tags from Forbes & Wallace, Steigers and G. Fox, along with sweaters never worn and a soft blanket never cuddled in.  An enormous pile representing years of Christmas and birthday gifts.

My mom and I stood there incredulous. "Mom," my mother asked my grandmother. "Why didn't you ever wear any of these? I gave them to you to wear because you were always cold." She flipped through the pile, touching every soft nightgown, pausing a moment to feel the cool pearl button on one.

My grandmother looked at my mother and said "I was saving them for the hospital or a special occasion." (Note: My grandmother has never been in the hospital other than for childbirth.) At the time, we had so much to do to clean out her house that I didn't think much of it but over the years, I have pondered her choice. She put off being happy/cozy/warm because she didn't think she deserved it at the time. This makes my heart break.

I thought of this recently. When I was back home in Massachusetts, a friend gave the baby an expensive stuffed toy. It was for no occasion other than "I love you, little one." When we got home to Seattle, I unboxed it and put it on her shelf so she could see it. I thought someday, when she is old enough, she would play with it. Then, I thought about my grandmother and all the moments in her life that could have been happier but she saved her "too pretty or too expensive" things for someday.  I looked at Waverly napping in her crib, the sunshine streaming in past the little starfish in the window above her bed. There are so many things I want to teach her, I want her to know that happiness is something that isn't saved for a special occasion. Don't save the pretty dress or the wedding china or the pearls you got for  graduation. Use them, wear them. Live today with joy, remember the love that someone gave to you along with the special present. Don't put the stuffed toy on a shelf.

Before I sat in the rocker next to her crib, I walked over to her bookcase, took the bear down from the shelf and placed it on her crib next to her. As I gently rocked, I watched Wave sleep. When she woke up, she turned her head, saw the bear, smiled, squealed and pulled it to her it to her chest with both hands in a big hug. It was joy. And one of my first lessons I hope to teach my daughter. Happiness is an everyday occasion.
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