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  • Kaelyn Turner

Winter is coming.

I have never seen 'Game of Thrones'. I just sent someone a GIF of "winter is coming" and it said "GOT" in the corner, so that's how I knew that it was from that movie. LOL. Is it even a movie? No... it's a series. Whatever. It's "Happy Nurse Practitioner Week" in America. So. Happy NP week to myself. And, Happy NP week to all my friends and mentors doing the nitty-gritty, tedious, sacrificial work out there. Not as dirty as RN work. Y'all the real MVPs. For my NP week, in celebration, I worked no less that 30 minutes and no more than 90 minutes late for all 3 of my shifts this week! And, winter is coming. I'm not even gonna lie to y'all, I'm nervous. I work in an Urgent Care now, and although it certainly feels like I'm in my natural habitat, I'm filled with self-doubt and have had so much anxiety, but I'm being brave! I'm going to keep showing up. Yay! It's fine, I am *drained*, BUT I can't let this week go by without putting out a blog!

Right? What would y'all do without it?

Y'all would be just fine, that's what.

But, as previously mentioned, I'm recommitted to this thing, because it gives me life.

This is a good segue.

Pronounced seg-way. I just learned how to properly spell this right now as I type to you. It means to move without stopping from one topic, song, etc. to another, according to the Goog. You've heard them use that term on the radio or TV a time or two, I'm sure.

Recommitting. All of you who have been reading this blog since I started (love you people, y'all are awesome), watched me start out strong! Putting out 1-2 blogs or posts per week. Then, magically, my new job came along, and this got completely put on the back burner.

I lost traction with writing, lost your attention, and I can see it in the numbers. It's disappointing but it's okay!

Does this sound like anything else in your life? Your healthy eating commitment? Your New Year resolution? Your exercise commitment? Your I'm-quitting-smoking commitment? Your I'm-quitting-drinking commitment? Your meditation practice or journaling commitment? Your screen time reduction commitment? Your go to bed an hour earlier commitment?

Your ___________ commitment?

It's LIFE y'all! We constantly commit, fade, recommit, fade, rinse, repeat.

This year, I went from being on a set weekly schedule at my old job, flawless routine, to being at home, alone (well, with dogs), nearly 24/7 for FIVE months, then right back into shift work, where 12 hours is really 13-14. Y'all think my habits didn't take a hit?

But this blog is my joy. I love writing these things and looking up all the stuff and sharing information about things I care about that I believe could be so helpful to so many people.

So, my November goal is 1 blog or post per week, plus getting re-active on Instagram.

So, here I am!

That's my first STEP into integrating writing and blogging back into my routine.

Holding myself to a goal of putting out 1-2 full blogs or posts every week is unreasonable and simply not doable at this point. If I tried to hold myself to my previous capability, I would get overwhelmed, and likely fall into complete avoidance.

Are you seeing where I'm going with this? One of the hottest topics of this decade is healthy lifestyle, healthy eating, exercise, and optimizing our bodies. It's literally everywhere on the news, in magazines, on the radio, and on social media.

The next book I'm going to read (my current read is "Stop Doing that Shit" - A Guide to Ending Self Sabotage by Gary John Bishop - cannot recommend it enough) is Atomic Habits by James Clear (and another success story/autobiography by Terrance Williams that was gifted to me by a good friend). I'm picking James Clear because our HABITS are so important and can really get us to our goals without an overwhelming mental/physical effort.

It's the little things.

In my adult life - I have both started drinking coffee, and started drinking alcohol. Also in my adult life, I have quit drinking coffee, and quit drinking alcohol, more than once, both for different reasons. The first time I quit drinking coffee (actually all sources of caffeine), it was

in preparation to go on a Kundalini Yoga retreat in Maui, Hawai'i. The retreat hosts warned us ahead of time that there would be no caffeine (and of course no alcohol) served for the entire 7 days we were there. At the time, I was working shift work as an RN, and I was about like a 4-5 coffees a day kind of gal, with an occasional energy drink mixed in (sorry kidneys, sorry brain, sorry adrenals, sorry heart). Additionally, those coffees were filled with wither plain creamer, sugar, or vanilla or hazelnut flavoring.

So - WHY did I quit?? I did not want to be traveling and detoxing from caffeine and wine.

Unrelated fun fact: I traveled to Hawai'i, alone, and I did not know anyone on this trip. Every single person was a complete stranger, and it was the furthest I had ever traveled in my entire life. The only time I traveled over water was to go to the Bahamas on senior trip.

I'm technically and not technically from a "small rural town", but I kind of had a life experience like one. I had not been a traveller and had not seen the world, and not really ever put myself into a never-before-seen situation where I knew no one.

I have very intentionally practiced doing things that I am petrified of many times in my life. It is normal for me to say, "I'm so freaking scared to ____, so I guess that means I have to do it."

So. I'm going to lay out how I did it with coffee. Coffee is not as scary as traveling alone to Hawai'i, but maybe starting a new habit or getting rid of an old one that no longer serves you, or that you know is bad for you, is intimidating and scary for you. I am totally back on coffee at this point in my life guys - let's be real LOL - but - I know for a fact that if I had to quit and/or if I wanted to quit _________ (insert substance), I could.

It doesn't have to be complicated.

Titrate & Wean.

I'm a nurse, an ER nurse, so titrate is a word I used and a thing I did on the weekly. In medicine, to titrate means to "continuously measure and adjust the balance of". I'd say the most common things we "titrated" were IV medications that controlled a patient's blood pressure/heart rate, and IV medications that kept people asleep. As nurses, we were constantly observing and assessing the patient's vital signs and level of consciousness, to make sure their numbers stayed where we wanted them. If a patient needed to be kept asleep, we watched them continuously to make sure they were agitated, restless or awake. We could program the IV pumps to change how much or how fast a medication went into the patient. And when we reached that sweet spot... that 110/75 and resting peacefully spot... we left the medicine alone and put 'er on cruise control.

To wean. It means what you think it means. A verb: "Accustom (someone) to managing without something on which they have become dependent or of which they have become excessively fond." Ouch. I waited late in this one to trigger y'all (us). To keep it light, oxygen is something we wean. If a person has been on supplemental oxygen their entire hospital stay, we slowly and gradually turn it lower, to give the patient less, to see how they do on their own. We don't just turn it off and send 'em out and say good luck!

We are going to say that you drink 4 cups of coffee per day, and a few days a week, you have an energy drink when you feel yourself dragging in the afternoon (2-3PM), or early morning (2-3AM) if you're a night shift worker. You add 3 of those little mini coffeemate creamers and 2 pink packet sugars to every cup you have. This is our starting point.

You decide your goal in the end, is to drink all your coffee black. No creamer, no added sugar or sweetener. You'd like to reduce to 2 cups of coffee per day, total.

Wean Chart

See what I did here? Guys. You don't wake up on January 1st a new person. You wake up the same person, who wants to make a positive habit or a better lifestyle or a healthier body. There are certainly people on this Earth that can quit an addictive substance or habit cold turkey, but most of us aren't that way. Sugar, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, gambling, opiates, fast food, spending money - it's ALL addicting. If you want to set yourself up for failure, try to accomplish all your goals at once. Or jump to the finish line - only 2 black coffees per day - in week 1, and get back to me on how long you last with that. Don't punish yourself.

If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, reduce by 2 cigarettes per day, per week. Space out your cigarettes a little further. Wait 45 minutes for the next one instead of 30 minutes.

If you want to start exercising, and you can't afford a gym. Start with 10 minutes, three times the first week. Then go to 12 minutes three times a week the second, then maybe 15. These are SMALL commitments.

If you are drinking 12-24 cokes in a week...start with making 24 cokes last you 10 days instead of 7. Then make 18 cokes last 10 days. Then replace a few of those 18 with either caffeine free or sugar free and add 1 extra bottle of water a day. Gradually, make those 12 cokes last 14 days, and replace a few of those with cans that LACK the addictive substances - you can choose to eliminate the sugar or the caffeine, or both.

If you want to start running, use an app like Couch to 5k. You gotta walk before you run.

If you are drinking a bottle or a bottle and a half of wine every night, reduce by one GLASS every night of the week for the first week. Then by 2 glasses a night per week on the second week.

Y'all making this too hard, y'all. Stop that. Quit playing games with your heart.

Stop making excuses that making changes are "too hard." All you need to be is realistic, and conscious.

If there is a habit you really want to add or subtract, do it slowly. It's way less painful that way. Life is hard enough, especially in 2020, you don't have to punish yourself too.

P.S. You don't have to wait til the New Year to have a resolution. You don't have to pick a Monday either. Make a plan, figure out what seems doable and acceptable, and make it happen.

LISTEN. If LIFE gets in the way ... Get over it. Don't spiral. Don't go down the rabbit hole. This is not Nickelodeon in the 90's. Just because you had a day, or a week, or a month at the beach, doesn't mean that beach was made of quicksand.

I'll take y'all out with a song...

Well, we all say that we'll quit someday When our ship comes in, we'll just sail away

But we're just blowin' smoke Hey yeah We're just blowin' smoke Hey yeah Out here goin' broke Hey yeah Yeah we're just blowin' Smoke

Well Janie got divorced again Her ex-husband's in the pen From two to five, five to ten or longer...

Brenda's traded smokes for cake, still hadn't lost that baby weight And that baby's about to graduate, from college."

-Kacey Musgraves

*I do not own the rights to this music.*


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