Saturday, October 26, 2013

No Time to Workout? I Call BS

So many people complain they don't have time to work out. Well I'm here to tell you that you can!
What's the first thing you do when you go home? You change. Instead of jammies, get decked out in comfortable gym clothes. While you're cooking dinner, use the low times as opportunities to do quick workouts in your kitchen. Pushups while the chicken defrosts in the microwave. Plank while the French fries bake. So many possibilities.
Same goes for tv: during commercial breaks, do a different exercise to break a sweat. No more flipping channels, No more late night snacks. This will keep you energized, alert, and on track to a healthier you.
Time for me to do some pushups!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Less Stressful Way to Achieve Goals

If you really think about it, long term goals are super scary. One of mine is to be debt free. At this time, I can hardly imagine that coming true. Today, I took an hour to brainstorm and reflect on anything without using a computer and here's what I came up with:

1. How to achieve a debt payoff goal: Focus on the small things. By making just an extra $20 a month in payments, you are just that much closer to achieving that goal. Break your payments into how many times you get paid. For example, I have a $100 month payment to my old landlord so I plan on sending $25 a week. Seems less scary, right? By rationing out your payments, you don't get as stressed about making that monthly payment. If I had a car payment, I would do the same. When you break it out, it's easier to make an extra payment because it doesn't seem very large compared to your paycheck.

2. How to achieve a savings goal: Just like a debt payoff goal, trying to build a large savings can seem overwhelming. I decided to cap a budget amount from each paycheck to go toward bills and the rest is instantly put into my savings account. It may only be $10 a week, but once debts start going down, I can move more toward savings rather than debt. Watch your account grow and grow! Choose the right savings account for your goals. For example, if you already have an amount that could give you more interest, talk to your banker about making a switch. Some money market accounts require at least $1,000 to get a better interest rate. The same goes toward an investment portfolio. Talk to an expert to get the best return for your type of investment style. I'm aggressive so once I get back into investing, it'll be more into stocks than bonds. I'll still have a CD or bond that I can contribute toward to have a "safer" investment in case my main investment tanks. Always have a back-up!

3. How to purchase a home after a set-back such as foreclosure: My first home is currently being foreclosed and I'm okay with that. The problem is I'll have a very difficult time purchasing again in the next few years. My current situation makes it seem I'll never own a home again, but there's always hope. I was searching on Zillow and found some very low cost condos near a beach. The properties are very dated, of course, but I love a project. Since they are lower costing, I can set up a separate savings account to purchase the property (or similar) without financing. This will obviously take a while to accomplish, but when it comes to home ownership, I'm prepared to start small and build up. Some banks will let your purchase after 2-3 years depending on how your credit bounces back. Work with a lender as well as a finance expert to get your credit back on track. The more cash you have to put toward a property, the less risky you seem to a lender.

4. New career path: With my migraines, it makes it difficult to be on my feet all day or stare at a computer screen for the same amount of time. I need a more flexible career path so I made a list of what I want to do rather than what I can do. If you just do what you can instead of what you want, you won't be happy. I've written down real estate agent (flexible hours), teaching (requires both sitting and standing plus I love helping people learn), teaching English as a second language (opportunities to live overseas for a bit), getting back into banking, moving up in retail (would require some good shoes for standing so long), and purchasing small condos for short-term renting (very risky industry). When I make plans, I definitely do my homework so stay tuned to what goes on. Getting my teaching certification is already in progress and I'll be working on my real estate license plus TESL/TEFL certification early next year.

5. Family planning: Right now I'm 27 and in no position to give a child a great living situation. So for now, I choose to remain childless and work on my situation. In a few years, I will definitely begin the planning, but only once I get my debt/income situation under control. In the mean time, I'll work hard, enjoy being just me and my pup, and travel. There are still so many things I want to accomplish before I have children. If you notice my typing, I am not planning on having a spouse. That's because I am completely comfortable being just me and that's okay. If I meet the man of my dreams, great. If not, that's fine too.

So what do you think? Did that lower some stress on your situations too?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Affirmation: I Desire True Wealth

Today's affirmation has to do about the true wealth in life. For me, that includes my dog, family, friends, and desire to complete my ambitions. My dog, family, and friends offer support and love during the good and bad times. My desire to complete my ambitions keeps me working hard for what I want. I don't have to make a ton of money to be considered wealthy.

What's the true wealth in your life?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Spoonie's Slump

Today has been a big challenge. I woke up in intense pain and my whole body felt like it was on strike. Not only did I have my usual migraine, but my arms and legs were so sore as if I ran and did jumping jacks in  my sleep. Still not ruling that out as a possibility :)

So I thought of going to a doctor. The ones I called said, without insurance, I'd be paying a minimum of $75 and it's due at time of service. Since I'm seeking assistance for migraine, the price went up. Since my account is significantly less than that, I decided to stay home and "tough it out." Unfortunately, this is the first time I've decided to decline medical help. So I began the process of applying for health care assistance. The problem: I do not have children. It's very difficult to get any assistance no matter how much you make (and I'm definitely in the poverty level) unless you have mouths to feed. I have chosen not to have children at this time because I cannot properly provide a fulfilling life while I'm sick. I'd hate to put a child through that.

The other day I applied for the Affordable Health Care program from and each plan was half my month's pay. I couldn't believe it! When I chatted with a representative, she said I could appeal. I'd hate to have to get a second job just to afford health care because I'm already working as much as I physically can. Working more would only trigger more attacks, which would cause me to go to the doctor more. Not a smart idea.

So what is a spoonie to do? My solution is to keep applying to programs for assistance, making appeals, and stating my case so I can get the care I need. I'm not looking for handouts, I just want to be able to afford a reasonable amount of care. Stay tuned for more.

What have you done when you couldn't get help that you needed?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Affirmation: I use my VICTORIES to fuel my greatest challenges

I build strength upon strength, even my defeats provide the seeds of great accomplishment.

Once a person has a victory, no matter how small, their confidence rises. With more confidence, a person can work on more challenging goals with more ease. Each victory is fuel for a well-oiled machine called life.

This week, my small victories include making it through each shift at work (all on my feet constantly) without screaming/crying/wanting to give up. Each time I accomplish it, I feel like I can conquer the world. Obviously I'm limited so it'll take me a while to actually conquer the world. When I had a horrible migraine during last night's shift, I was able to finish without a tear. My hands shook, my heart raced, and my mind was cloudy, but I made it. That's a victory in my book.

This week's challenge: finding a way to work with a new headache specialist without insurance. In order to qualify for disability, I need to have support of a doctor. Mine is in KC and I moved to Florida, so I need to begin the doctor hunt once again. Very frustrating, but once I achieve this small victory, it will fuel my desire to get the help I need.

What have been your victories this week?

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Art of a Great Idea

Ever have one of those moments when the light bulb turns on in your head and suddenly the greatest idea of all time appears? I have...many times. So what do you do next?

Personally, I am very fond of lists. I use them to track my budgeting, make decisions, and map out goals. I start out with outlining what my idea is, what industry it goes to, and how to make it happen. For the past six months, my ideas have mostly revolved around food, writing, film, television, and business. Pretty wide spectrum, right?

I am firm believer that if you only succeed in one genre, then you aren't a well-rounded person. In my career, I've worked in food, retail, entrepreneurship, and the financial industry. Even though I may note be a huge boss, I am still a well-rounded person. My experiences in food help me create delicious dishes and keep to my headache diet without difficulty. In retail, I learn how to be organized, patient, and a salesman. As an entrepreneur, I learned the hard way about being your own boss and the "other side" of the paychecks. Finally, in the financial industry, I learned how to keep on track with a budget, how credit works, and what to do in an emergency (financially).

I'm currently working on my grocery shopping guide to the headache diet, but that doesn't mean I'm not outlining my next ideas. Tonight, I'm actually working on an outline of a novel I'd like to live out. Too bad it's so expensive. Can I be a world famous writer already? :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Affirmation: I accomplish little tasks effectively

Doing little things well is the foundation of my success

As a spoonie, sometimes it's the little things that make the most impact. When you're three spoons down, getting the laundry done, cooking dinner, or freshening up the bathroom can make a world's difference. I try to take my life one spoon at a time, which means I look to the little things often. Today, I have a tutoring session, going to do Zumba (if spoons allow), and plan on getting some more accomplished with my Headache Diet Grocery Shopping Guide. With each little task, I can evaluate my spoons and move on to the next. If I focus on the big things too much (finances, career situation, living situation), I'll stress out too much and ultimately cause a flare. Yes, keeping up with the bigger items are very important, but it's the little things that build up to it. Here's an example:

Goal: Debt free
To accomplish this goal I need to focus on each bill. Paying little by little and working with each debtor will help me get to the final payoffs.

Goal: Getting back on my own
To accomplish this goal, I need to gradually purchase the small stuff we never think of (dishes, hangers, furniture, etc) so I do not freak out and have to buy it all at once. This helps lower the stress which can lower the chances for flares.

Goal: Build a long lasting something that works for me
This one is a bit difficult. I was a banker before and had a flexible schedule, but my migraines made it difficult to keep a full-time schedule. I constantly had to use personal/vacation time to make it up, which isn't good. For now, I am working part-time in retail, tutoring students in math, and hoping to create some revenue from my books. Will either of these create a career path? You never know. I am also looking into being a certified teacher in business, science, or math (or all) so that's another possibility. I can use my degree for something and feel accomplished by molding young minds. For now, I can't stress on it. I need to do what I can, pay what I can, and see where the wind takes me.

It's all about balance. By accomplishing the little tasks effectively, you are ultimately helping the big picture become brighter. So if you find yourself looking to the big things, write down each small task to accomplish it and take it one task at a time.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Attack of the Brain: Revenge of the Migraine

Yesterday I had a bad situation: My pain level was at 12, insurance ended the day before, and I was in no financial situation to see a doctor. I debated going to Urgent Care, the least expensive option. The other part was I was eligible for COBRA but haven't had any information to activate it.

So what is a spoonie to do? I chose to sleep as long as I could. Once my parents got home,  if my pain level was still above 10,  I would be taken to Urgent Care. Thankfully, the pain lowered to a range of 5-7 which is manageable for me. How sad is that?

If a completely normal, healthy person borrowed my body for a day, they'd think they were dying. My body is used to constant pain so I only react to the top pain levels. As I'm typing, I'm at a 4. Stiff back of the neck and mild headache.  This is my daily battle.

My next thought was disability. I feel like I'm not worthy of it since I'm able to walk and have good days. However, I cannot work a full time job anymore. How will I support myself if I can't work like a normal person? So the long process begins. Will I be approved? I'm not sure, but I've got to try.

Any spoonies have days like me? How do you cope?