We’re approaching daylight savings time this weekend, so one can only hope that along with more daylight, we’ll also start to see warmer temperatures and the earth coming back to life with signs of spring.
This month is my fifth list of “5 things”. Putting these lists together gives me a chance to think about the things that I’m grateful for, for what they bring to my life in the way of efficiency, ease, inspiration, or better health.
I’ll start this month with a gadget that I bought in 2017: The Ovente Immersion Hand Blender. I wanted a stick blender but didn’t have a bundle of money to spend on one, and this one works really well for me. The measuring cup and the stainless blade make it easy to whip up a salad dressing, or to get a good thorough blend on a simple (no fruit or ice) protein shake. It’s also perfect for those times when a soup recipe calls for taking a cup or so of soup out of the pot, blending it, and returning it to thicken the soup. I have a good, powerful blender but I pull this little number out of the drawer pretty often because it’s easy to clean, and it’s more than adequate for light blending jobs.
Number 2 this month is not a “thing” at all—it’s a service, or maybe better called a system, that we embrace wholeheartedly—and that is Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA. If you’re unfamiliar with that concept, a CSA allows you as a consumer to subscribe to the harvest of a particular farm. We’re fortunate in the Happy Valley region to have numerous CSA providers, but since this is my platform, you know I’m going to give a plug to our CSA, Healthy Harvest Farm. We’ve been members with them for several years now, for both the traditional summer/fall share, and the more limited winter/spring share. We love the method of distribution, which is set up like a private little farmer’s market, not a mystery box of vegetables. This allows us to choose what we want from the items that are available. We get an email every week letting us know what will be available, which helps me plan our meals and eliminate unnecessary buying at the grocery store. If you’re in the State College/Bellefonte area and considering a CSA, check them out. At this point I think there are a few spaces left in the upcoming summer share, but they will sell out, so don’t wait too long.
Numbers 3, 4 and 5 are all related and have to do with health and self-care. First let’s talk about sleep. I go through some intermittent bouts of insomnia or sometimes have trouble falling asleep at night, so I was eager to try the recently-added “sleep sounds” that are part of the Headspace meditation app that I use. I like them! Soft, dreamy sounds that are nondescript enough that my mind doesn’t get caught up in them. You can set them to run for 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes. I’ve set them for 45 but I’ve yet to have a night where I’m still awake when it ends. Yay for better rest and whatever it takes to get there!
Number 4: #MovingInMarch. This also is not a “thing”, it’s more of a movement. A movement movement, if you will. A commitment to doing something physical every day for the entire month of March, a challenge started by one of my #SkirtAmbassador sisters. I’m dedicated to moving for at least 30 minutes every day in activities that are beyond the normal course of my day. Why am I doing this? Well, I realized that I’ve been a little too generous with myself on taking “rest days”. I know better than to go too crazy and hurt myself, but I know that I feel better when I am more consistent with my workouts. They say that it takes 28 days to form a habit, so I’m hoping that this full month of consistency will continue to pay off into the spring and summer months. I’m only 8 days into it, but so far I am feeling great! To hold myself accountable, I’m posting my daily activities on my Instagram account @happyvalleyhealthy. Of course if I’m in the posts, you can bet you’ll be seeing some Skirt Sports in the picture!
Bringing me to number 5: If my (ahem) 50-something year old body has learned anything, it’s the importance of muscle and soft tissue release as part of my physical routine. The foam roller can be a good friend, but some of my best friends are BALLS. Yoga Tune-Up Balls, that is. These balls are made especially for muscle and fascia work and have a soft top layer (for lots of grip) and a dense core. I have 3 sizes of balls (and let’s face it, it’s fun to talk about balls). My small balls are great for foot work—ah, to roll those tired feet at the end of the day; the medium-sized ones are my favorite for shoulders and IT bands; and these alpha balls are amazing when used against the wall to roll along the chest, or on the floor, to dig into the lower back and butt.
That’s my list for this month! I guess if I have to sum it all up, my advice for March is to eat well, keep moving, and grab life by the balls!