Hindsight is 2021 – Part 2

Thanks for the support and kind words on my first post and my news of blogging this year. I launched my site and my first blog Hindsight is 2021 – Part 1 last Wednesday, January 5, and it hit an incredible 151 views!!! INCREDIBLE! If you haven’t read it yet, check it out as I talk about how alcohol impacted me and how I changed my life and my habits to be healthier, including running my first marathon in 2021.

Hindsight is 2021 – Part 2 will focus more on maintaining my mental and physical health thru:

  1. Working with professionals
  2. A new found love of meditation

My Mental Health

A lot of days during the pandemic, I have to turn off the news or avoid news for a week, because I simply cannot take anymore of the negative talk or repetitive news. Is it just me or does the news seem overly negative these days?

Lately the news in Alberta included extreme temperatures hitting highs of -20C for weeks in a row. It may have been -30C most days with wind chill. We’re isolated, it’s snowed a bunch and it’s freezing cold! A fun day outside is shoveling your sidewalk for 1/2 hour freezing your butt off. Or popping out the door to grab your latest delivery. I’ll walk thru cold weather to get outside most days of the year, but when it hits -28C and there is wind chill factor on top of that, I hide inside.

My mental health, right now, it’s not in the best shape. And that’s ok. I NEED a vacation not just time off! I’m very impacted by 2 years of COVID isolation. The freezing cold right now is not helping. It all feeds into my old coping mechanism of drinking and sitting on a computer playing video games by myself, escaping the world and my problems. I cannot will not do that anymore. I’m hanging in there, and doing ok. But it’s hard work!

If you read Part 1, you know that I quit drinking at the end of 2020. I now face my hardships without alcohol. I no longer drown my sorrows with drinking. In practice, it’s very healthy as I face my problems head on! For that I need coping mechanisms! And I need help!

Working with professionals

I take my mental and physical health very seriously. And I’m fortunate to have great benefits from my employer that also believes in taking care of your health. I can’t emphasize how important it is to see professionals for what’s ailing you.

I have three key professionals that help keep me healthy:

  1. Massage therapist – 60 mins of relaxing massage once per month. This is an hour of bliss. I’ve been seeing the same therapist during the pandemic, so we also have some great chats. So I really get a mental and physical break for 60 mins once a month. See Krystin at Back Be Nimble if you need an hour of bliss!
  2. Physiotherapist – 60 mins of physio every 3-4 weeks. I’ve been seeing Simon Cooke at the Kinsmen Physical Therapy Clinic for 20 years, since my motorcycle accident. I ALWAYS do what Simon “says”. Simon and I work thru back pain every month. My nightly stretching routine is about 90 mins of assorted stretches that we’ve worked thru. Yes, 90 mins! I take my stretching & recovery seriously.
  3. Psychologist – 60 mins of psychology every month. I’ve been seeing Dan Cross since my car accident in 2014. Dan and I have worked thru an assortment of trauma and mental struggles and developed several coping mechanisms and strategies. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have my fair share of mental shortcomings and I’ve worked very hard to improve myself.

The three people that I see on a monthly basis help me with my physical and mental health. Last year, I booked monthly appointments with all three and I’m very thankful for them. They are part of team Kreba! I couldn’t not have survived my two biggest accomplishments last year without them: sobriety and running a marathon. I’m looking forward to our work together in 2022!

I have links to their websites above. Please contact them if you want help with your health or schedule an appointment with your preferred professional today.

Meditation

For Christmas 2020, my mom always asks for a Christmas list from the kids. And 2020 was no different. I usually try to provide a list of items that I want but might not buy for myself. These types of things make the perfect gift. So for Christmas in 2020, I received a Muse 2. The Muse 2 provides a meditation experience that combines brainwave, heart rate and body (posture) feedback.

For those of you that don’t know me, I’m FASCINATED by how technology can help us become more self aware and improve our mental capacity. Perhaps in a future blog, I’ll discuss my semester of sports psychology that includes brainwave training and controlling your heart rate for maximum performance (heart rate variability)!

Initially, after Christmas, I pounced on meditation, using the Muse 2. I needed the technology bump. I loved the feedback. I meditated daily – for an hour some days! There was a mode I loved whereby the headset knows if your brainwaves are busy with thought, or calm and relaxed. If your mind is racing while you are trying to be calm, the headset sends you feedback with sound; your gentle jungle background becomes a tropical storm. And only focus and calm return you to the gentle jungle noises.

In February of 2021, I took a Mindfulness Based Training course offered by PMINAC (Project Management Institute – Northern Alberta Chapter). I’m a Project Manager for work; so the course was offered at a discount rate for all members. It was perfect timing with my new found love of meditation. The course only enhanced my feelings that meditation was a much needed coping mechanism for me!

By mid-year, I had dropped the Muse 2 from my meditation routine. I found that while I loved the technology, I was frustrated by the barrage of expectations & goals of the app that increased every week and it became a chore to setup for every session. Stay tuned for future blogs when I discuss technology and how it can help us and hurt us with goals and hobbies!

That’s a bit of a story to tell you that I meditated in 2021. I had good weeks and bad weeks. I never fully got into a daily routine. Eventually, I subscribed to Calm (a popular meditation site) for the year and have enjoyed sessions 3-4 times a week. I continue to meditate as part of my mental health. I find that the experience of meditating and learning to mediate helps me in so many ways! I find that 10 mins before bed seems to be the most convenient time for me.

I wish I was more disciplined with meditation. I wish I made time for it before bed time. Maybe I’ll carve out scheduled time to meditate in 2022. I find the practice very rewarding. And I always feel invigorated after a session. If you want to check out meditation, I definitely recommend checking out Calm or Insight Timer.

Insight Timer has some great free introductory content that is so valuable for beginners. I’m likely to return to Insight Timer in 2022 as my main meditation support.

Enter a comment if you’d like to see more details in a blog focusing on meditation in the future! I can share my journey and provide some details on how it helps me in my daily routine and thru adversity.

Wrap Up

Wow! I thought “maybe” I’d have only 2 parts to this initial blog Hindsight is 2021. But it was a big year for me. I changed. My life changed. I spent the whole year working from home. I quit drinking alcohol. I started running and completed a marathon. Meditation became part of my coping routine. And so much more…

I hope you enjoyed Hindsight is 2021 – Part 2. And I really hope you learned a little more about me. I hope that I can inspire you to do more for your mental and physical health.

Hindsight is 2021 – Part 3 and more is coming!

I still have more topics to cover, including:

  1. Journaling
  2. Hobbies – including my favorite activity GOLF!
  3. Movember 2021
  4. Formula 1 racing
  5. Crypto
  6. Camping
  7. Dogs

THANKS!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment if you would like to hear more about a topic or experience. I would love to hear from you if you enjoying my content!

4 Responses

  1. Thank you for the kind words Dennis. I too use the Calm app and agree meditation is beneficial but hard! I hope 2022 is full of successes for you and look forward to reading more about it in the coming months.
    Simon

  2. I enjoyed Part 2 of your blog and even more so, getting to know you better and the battles that you have faced.

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