Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Readers' Workouts - New Year's Resolutions

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to increase the number of days I went to the gym. I had been only going one day a week with a friend and I wanted to increase to three times a week.

This past week I FINALLY fulfilled that requirement!

Tuesday:  My friend wasn't in the mood to go and normally we have the bad habit of talking each other out of going to the gym but not this week.  I told her we should go to the gym and work out our frustrations.  So she upped her hill program and admitted to feeling better.

Thursday: Thursdays are my weird shift at work. I work 1-9 so I have the mornings free and normally I tend to make them lazy mornings if I don't have a doctor's appointment or something else pressing I need to do. But I know they make a good time to go to the gym so off I went.

Weekend: The third step to my plan was to get to the gym either Saturday or Sunday. I had a bad day Saturday and barely had the gumption to get up off the couch. I also misjudged my glass of red wine (use a bigger glass than normal) and woke up with a red wine headache on Sunday. I knew working it off would help so off to the gym I went.

I'm really proud of myself and have every intention of doing it again this week.

I also was able to catch up on a lot of my podcast listening so that's another motivator.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Read Harder Challenge - A self-improvement book

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works - A True Story10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works - A True Story by Dan Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is not a typical self-improvement book, but it had a positive affect on my own thoughts on meditation and how to calm my monkey mind. I've tried meditation. I never knew if it was worth it or not to keep at it or just give it up.  I've read a lot about how it can help with anxiety and sensory processing disorder, my two major issues.

Dan Harris shares his personal journey with meditation and how it's helped change is life.  Part of his journey was reading the works of other meditation self-help gurus. Hearing about his disbelief resonated with me. I liked hearing how even though he had some disbelief he continued to pursue this path because what little he had at that point seemed better with meditation.

He says that as a result of his journey he's 10% happier than he was at the start of his journey.  If I can get at least 10% happier or calmer I'd say meditation is worth it.  I'm willing to try.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Read Harder Challenge - A book that was originally published in another language

I Love I Hate I Miss My SisterI Love I Hate I Miss My Sister by Amélie Sarn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was originally written in French and I think some of the translations caused for some awkward phrases. Besides the translation issues, this book was a quick read and an interesting read.  

Sohane and Djelila are sisters. They are both close and distant with each other. While physically they live in France, they inhabit two different worlds.  Sohane is an observant Muslim while Djelila has embraced a secular lifestyle.  Both girls are facing negative feedback from the community based on their decisions.

Sohane has decided to wear a head scarf. Since head scarfs and veils have been outlawed in France, her school has given her an ultimatum. She can either remove her head scarf while in the building or she must leave school. Sohane decides that correspondence classes will be a better choice for her than attending school.  She doesn't have any friends so it's not a hard choice for her to make.

Djelila is being harassed by a group of boys from their housing development.  They don't like that she doesn't follow the religious law and requirements. Djelila is pushing her limits in trying to be a French teenager living in a very religious community.

Things don't end happily for these sisters.  It's a moving story.