When “stalking” someone made me happy

Ok, so I wasn’t really stalking — not full-on, anyway, haha! But I stumbled across something, remembered someone, did a quick search, and found her social media account.*

I had never met her, and she had never met me. However, I knew of her, and I am 100% sure she knew of me, too. We only have one thing in common: years ago, we were both antagonised by the same individual. I sometimes wondered what happened to her, and now I know.

Perusing through her images of her life with her partner, faces beaming; their travels; the pretty things she surrounds herself with — I can tell she is happy. And I’m happy she’s happy, and that we’re both happy. That we’ve broken free from a less-than-ideal situation, and have moved on. We’re both doing quite well for ourselves.

And that makes me really happy. I’d fist-bump you, if we were friends.

* Is it stalking if you don’t really put that much effort into the investigation, and all the information is easily accessible publicly anyway?

A random list of awesome things that improved my life lately

I definitely don’t have time to think of witty titles! Haha! Anyway, this is an appreciation post for things I’ve discovered, and added, a few things into my regular routine that have improved my life immeasurably.

Tart cherry juice. I heard about it while watching a video about improving energy levels. It’s got a whole heap of benefits (Google it to find out), but for me, it’s vastly improved my after-exercise muscle soreness and allergies.

I do intense workouts at least three days a week. I remember complaining about how sore I was the day afterwards, and would only barely recover enough for my workout the day after that. The first time I took this, I was only slightly sore the next day. It had me questioning if I had exerted enough effort! But it’s been several weeks since I first started taking it, and I’m sure I haven’t been slacking off on the intensity.

Secondly, it’s crazy what it’s done for my allergies! I’ve previously posted about how I was trying to wean myself off my antihistamine pills. Before I started taking this, I was taking half doses every day up to after every two days. After every three days, max. After I started taking this, I went two weeks in between (half doses of) pills. It’s springtime now, and thus, pollen season, so I don’t know if I’ll always sustain the two week intervals, but it’s definitely stretched out the times I take pills!

I get the concentrate in a bottle and mix it with sparkling water. It tastes like a naughty soda treat. Hehe.

FitBit’s sleep tracking. I’ve had my FitBit for a while now, but I always took it off when I went to bed. I didn’t like the feeling of wearing stuff to sleep. It still gets uncomfortable, especially when my wrist gets caught under a pillow. But I love the insights that I’ve been getting about my sleep.

It’s made me more conscious about what time I got to bed. It made me realise that although I was in bed by 11 PM and up at 6 AM, I wasn’t getting the full 7 hours because of the times I’d wake up at night (which is normal). Now, I’m usually in bed a little after 10 PM, and even then I’ve been averaging only 7 hours of solid sleep time. This means I have to start getting ready for bed at 9 PM, but that’s all right. I feel like such an old person writing this, but I do enjoy getting a solid sleep sesh.

An air purifier. It’s a bit pricey but it’s worth it! The first night I used it, I got comments from two people telling me about how refreshed I look. I’ve also been told I snore less with it (haha). I never realised that the air quality in my bedroom had been compromising my sleep, though I guess that should’ve been obvious given my allergy problems.

A thoracic wedge. My posture is not the greatest. When I went to a physio, he pointed out that a section of my back had started getting stiff. :/ I’d actually noticed it myself, but didn’t know quite what to do with it. He recommended getting this wedge to lie on, which I’ve been doing, and I can already see the improvement! I have more flexibility in my back, but I’ve still got a long way to go…

Aussielent. A friend introduced me to meal replacement shakes a few years ago (via different brand). They were all right, but I didn’t really get into it then. Anyway, I noticed that I would always scramble around trying to cobble together a decent meal after my workouts, and this would push out my sleep times further. I wanted to prepare easy but healthy meals quickly, so I bought a few packets of these a few weeks ago.

It tastes like a bland milkshake, but that’s fine by me! It’s good for what it is. I don’t replace all my meals with them — I have four serves a week, usually on weekdays before/after workouts when I can’t be bothered to do full-on cooking. It advertises that it’s a balanced meal with all the necessary vitamins and minerals. I can’t really comment on that since I don’t think I take it often enough, but I do notice that I feel much better after I take it versus eating a not-so-healthy meal.

Steel straws. I originally bought them because I heard that tea stains teeth, and I love tea. (So yes. I drink tea through a straw, haha.) Also that hot water and lemon, while good for you internally, can damage your teeth. But with my tart cherry juice drink and Aussielent, I found that I’ve been getting so much use out of these lately! Makes me feel like I’m having a treat.

And that’s it! After going through the list, I realised that most of them relate to getting better sleep. I did say I wanted to fix my sleep hygiene this year, so sounds like I’m on the right track.

No more extras

Another thing I’ve decided to lessen is my habit buying more of things that I do need, but don’t really need right at this moment.

I read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up a year or two ago, and it inspired me not to hoard so much. I don’t think I’m hardcore enough to never have backups of anything – I’m a cheapskate at heart and will jump at the chance to buy cheap rolls of better quality toilet paper at Costco. But at the same time, I knew I had a problem when I excitedly bought a bottle of eye cream to replace one that had run out, only to realise I already had a spare in the cupboard.

I have identified that I’ve got a problem with:

Skincare. This is probably because I haven’t found my “Holy Grail” products yet, so I frequently try new brands. I always get excited by beauty products’ claims (plus points if they’re natural-y and Australian made) and I keep buying them to use when my current stash runs out. As of this point I’m probably good with skincare products for the rest of the year, and probably a big chunk into 2019. 😐

Cleaning products. I’ll admit I like cleaning. 😛 Similar to skincare, though, I’m on the lookout for natural (preferably Australian-made) brands and still haven’t found a range that I’m happy with. I initially tried using the baking soda + vinegar solution often recommended in “natural” cleaning but I’ve never really gotten it to work for me! Haha!

Fabric. I took up sewing last year. I can’t help looking at fabric and thinking, “oooooh, I could make something cool with that!” I now have a growing fabric stash (including fabric gifted by my mom and friends) and pile of sewing tools and notions. I was looking through my sewing cart the other day and realised I had no idea what I was going to make with all that stuff! I have some projects in mind, but definitely not enough to use up the stash anytime soon. So… no more fabric buying for me.

Food. I have several different kinds of salt, meat rubs and spices. Whenever I go to some cute local shop selling their own nut butters, jams and sauces I’m always tempted to grab a bottle. This one’s easy — I’m just going to eat it all. 😀

No more news

A few weeks ago, I decided to stop checking the news online.

I’d listened to a few podcasts/read a few books talking about how news-checking can get obsessive, and how it wasn’t really that productive. As it was with me. I’d check news websites on the way to work, several times during work, and on the way back home. I’d be constantly refreshing and checking for new articles.

And to what end? I have no idea. The vast majority of articles were click-bait; despite me knowing this, I read them anyway. I liked to convince myself that I was keeping myself informed about current affairs, but then I realised most of them weren’t even relevant. It was just giving me a false sense that I somehow understood the world and what was going on it. The reality was, I was just being fed a stream of articles with no real depth.

For example, a few months ago, the news broke about Barnaby Joyce (an Aussie politician, for my non-Aussie friends)’s affair with his former staffer. I could argue that it was in the national interest — after all, it appeared that he had thrown his weight around, getting her a plum position whilst the affair was going on — but I got up in the details. Did Vikki really make 190K for making 50 Facebook posts?! Why did she break up with her fiance for him?? Did his wife really call her a homewrecking whore?! I must know!

It took up so much of my time.

There was no point in continuously getting outraged and annoyed over some thing some random person had done to someone, somewhere.

So I stopped.

And I feel so much better for it.

I remember someone telling me, years ago, that she didn’t check the news. I thought she was ignorant for wanting to remain uninformed. I thought she was one of those clueless types who somehow got it into her head that she knew better. That the news was part of some massive conspiracy theory and couldn’t be trusted.

Well, now I’m following her lead.

I still catch up on the news though… I’ve gotten rid of my daily news podcast and have instead subscribed to BBC’s The World This Week. (It’s amazing at what kind of news actually makes it on there.)

I’m subscribed to newsletters, which give me in-depth stories and meaningful articles about things I’m interested in. That way I can get real content on stuff that matters to me, and not the fluffy, superficial lifestyle listicles that appear on most news websites.

If there’s a physical paper nearby (rare, but it happens!) I might pick it up and read it. I might turn the TV on the news is running. And if there’s something that’s really important – someone will usually tell me.

Related: I no longer browse through comments sections either. Hah!

The only downside I’ve noticed is that it’s gotten me to check social media more. Specifically, Instagram. I used to only browse every time I posted. But lacking something to give me that “quick fix”, I started checking it a bit more often. Must keep it in check!