Shal the Scientist

You may have already figured this out, but I’m not one to get too excited about science.  I vaguely remember learning about the wavelengths of light and different colors either in middle or high school, and for a small time I couldn’t see a color without thinking about the size of its wavelength and why I was seeing that color.  And don’t get me started on atoms!  When I was first taught that everything was made up of these teensy-tiny building blocks, my mind was blown and the way I saw everything changed…at least until I saw my crush in the hallway and forgot all about science class, lol.

            I guess what I’m getting at is that when it comes to the natural world, I typically prefer to live in the magic of wonder instead of the light of understanding.  So imagine my surprise when I found myself thinking about inertia the other day.  It’s Newton’s ‘First Law of Motion’ (and, yes, I had to look this up to refresh my science knowledge) which states, basically, that an object in motion will stay in motion and an object at rest will stay at rest unless an outside force gets involved (I remembered that!).  It’s all about energy amounts and movement and…well, boring science jargon.  Sorry to all you science-lovers out there!

            As I continue this journey of actively seeking a healthier and happier lifestyle, I am realizing more and more that inertia is a powerful reality in our lives.  If I get home from work, change into comfy clothes, and we decide to eat dinner on the couch while watching a show, the likelihood of doing anything productive for the remainder of the evening is greatly decreased; I’m an object at rest that wants to stay that way.  If I’m trying a new, healthier product or doing a DIY project and something goes wrong or I’m not pleased with the results, it’s natural for my movement towards healthier decisions to be slowed; the disappointing outcome is like that outside force that changes my speed and/or direction.

            But here’s the upside: once you propel yourself (or are moved by other forces) to be actively moving towards health and happiness, inertia will help you keep moving in that direction.  That makes me think of how I did some research almost 2 years ago on how to clean my oven without using harsh chemicals, and soon was using baking soda, vinegar, and lemons for other cleaning, which led to reading the labels on my cleaning products, which coincided with my reading food labels for ‘high-fructose corn syrup,’ and then was making sure our bread was whole wheat…I think you get the idea : )

I believe this knowledge is empowering in two important ways:

  1. Awareness – Once you know that there are pesky forces that may slow you down or bring your progress to a grinding halt, it is easier to see them coming and prepare…or even try to avoid them.  Whenever I am frustrated with this journey, it is easy for me to think negatively and become discouraged.  But if I remain aware, I can remind myself to stay positive and not allow one event to derail my forward movement.
  2. Encouragement – According to this law of motion, it is natural to keep going once we have started.  So, even if you’ve taken only one step toward a happier and healthier life, the difficult part of beginning is already behind you.  I find that very uplifting!  Use this scientific fact to help you keep rolling in the right direction.

How has inertia helped or hurt your journey to better health and happiness?       

The Healthy/Happy Changes List

After posting about the start of my wellness journey, I thought it might be helpful to simply list out the lifestyle changes we have implemented (or are in the process of trying to implement!) in an effort to be happier, healthier people. Some of them may seem insignificantly small to you, while others may appear impossibly difficult. As I wrote last time, please remember to be patient and kind with yourself wherever you are on this path (even if you’re just looking at it for now and trying to decide whether you want to walk on it)!
Some of what I will list took a lot of research and discussion; others were ‘no-brainers.’ Some we stay true to easily; others may ebb and flow in terms of how well we stick to them. A lot of this process simply involves these decisions becoming automatic as we continue to make them over and over (especially concerning what we buy and/or eat). We have also learned that some changes really only apply to one of us, which may be the case for you if you are creating these changes in a household with different people.
Here we go!
1. Eliminated high fructose corn syrup
2. Eating smaller portions
3. Choosing snacks more carefully
4. Drinking pop only as a rare treat and instead drinking more water and 100% juice
5. Drinking vitamin-rich smoothies (we buy Bolthouse)
6. Consuming kefir and greek yogurt for probiotic health (good job, hubbie…I’m not there yet)
7. Buying and eating more fruits and veggies
8. Purchased a water filter (we use a container you put in the fridge, not the kind that attaches to the faucet).
9. Choosing whole grain products (and trying to avoid bleached, white flour)
10. Choosing products with lower sugar content
11. Switched to organic milk
12. Learned about the ‘dirty dozen’ and decided to only buy this produce if organic
13. Increased fiber intake (if you like cereal for breakfast, this is an easy place to find high-fiber options)
14. Switched to organic, cage-free eggs
15. Started a garden
16. Discovered ewg.org to help us shop smarter (thank you, EWG!!)
17. Began switching some of our hygiene products (some of these include deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body soap, & hand soap; some are bought, others are simple DIYs)
18. Started using more natural cleaning methods (say hello to vinegar, baking soda, and lemons!)
19. Replaced some cleaning products with Dr. Bronner’s castile soap
20. Changed many light bulbs (we received free CFLs through our energy provider, but eventually I’d prefer LEDs)
21. We unplug electronics when not in use (this and some of the following are more an efficiency issue, but smaller bills contribute to our happiness!)
22. Winterizing the house for colder months (this year, it’s been about 4 or 5 months!)
23. Purchased and use a programmable thermostat (we have it at 67 when we’re home and 62 for away/sleeping – we make it warmer for guests!)
24. Running an air humidifier regularly
25. Using a humidifier at night (great Christmas gift we received)
I hope to be able to add using all-natural lip balm and essential oils soon…but, as always, one small step at a time! What are some of the changes that you have made?!

Welcome!

Hi! Thanks for stopping in. I’m a first-time blogger (though life-long writer) who is looking for a way to use up some extra creative energy I have jostling about within me. After daydreaming more times than I can count of quitting my office job and pursuing my dream of (depending on the day and my mood, insert yoga instructor, holistic healer, home elder companion, non-profit position, Etsy creator, or author here), I decided I really need more creative expression in my life. And I don’t think quitting my job is the solution – though a girl can certainly dream.

I have a lot of interests, so while this blog may seem to be a bit all over the place, I hope everything I share can be applied to better living – and loving – life . I predict topics spanning from going green & eating healthy to racial reconciliation & various social justice issues to relationships & organization to travelling and…well, you get the picture. I don’t see a reason to limit this space to one topic when that is not really how most people work. I’m a messy collaboration of passions, sure, but I’d rather be that than have no passions at all!

So, here’s a little about me: I’m in my twenties and am very happy with my life. I am married to my best friend (yeah, yeah – corny, I know) who is the most delightful combination of loving, smart, & goofy. We have many wonderful relationships with family members and friends, live in Detroit, and love to volunteer both at church and in our community. I’ve been known to over-organize and make massive lists and also to blow off my to-do’s to venture into Netflix land (except for Wednesdays, which is currently ‘no TV day’).

Life is a crazy journey, and I feel so grateful for where I’m at on this winding path – where are you?