Learning to keep it together

 

Got anything stressful going on now? Do you handle it well or do you find yourself spiraling out of control? I’m getting ready to start a really stressful year and have decided to set some goals to better manage some potential pitfalls.

In my last post, I mentioned I was on the world’s shortest break. Well it ended today. I’m back in class, only this semester I’m actually in a classroom instead of just doing online work. This semester is the beginning of a super hectic life until December 2013 when I graduate as a nurse practitioner. Grad school has been okay to this point. Lots of papers and busy work but nothing super taxing. I have my weeks here and there but when I reflect on the semester, it’s not too bad. However, today it hit me that life is going to radically change. Starting next year, in addition to working 3 12-hour overnight shifts, I’ll be doing 25-35 hours a week in a clinic during the day for my practical experience. In essence, it will feel like I’m working 6 days a week. Anyone remember the Seinfeld episode where everyone is yelling “serenity now!” Whoops, might have just dated myself. Anyways, I feel like running around yelling that. I know, I know. Please don’t pass me some cheese with my whine or starting playing the violin. There are some truly amazing people out there juggling 3 jobs, kids, long commutes, dying family members, etc. My life is cake in comparison.

After class today I had a bit of a pity party for myself and laid on the floor watching 2 hours of Sex in the City reruns until I felt I had accepted the situation. I realized I needed to take a new look at this semester and year. Part of my stress is related to how I’ve handled it in the past. Stress eating, weight gain, constant fatigue which leads into some mild depression, isolation from friends and family because I feel like I always need to be studying or catching up on sleep, and the overall run down feeling and appearance. Sounds like fun huh? The thing is, I know I’m not the only person who handle’s stress this way. I remember working with countless clients when I was a personal trainer who were all dealing with stress eating, fatigue, depression, etc. Mmmmmm, it’s time to have a delicious sandwich made of my own words.

So, my goals are:

  • Make my pooch happy and take her on more walks. Why study 5 hours in a row? That’s the beauty of having a dog; they make you way more active. I am going to take advantage of that and make sure I’m taking frequent breaks and walking her. She’s happy, I’m happy, my body is happy. I’m also going to make sure my workout equipment is out in my living room so it’s super easy (and no excuse) for me to lean over, pick the weight up, and do a mini-break lift session.
  • Learn to use a scale again. The beauty/downside of being a nurse is you’re always in scrubs (mmmm, baggy). Between that and then throwing on stretchy workout pants when I’m home, I could easily put on 5 pounds before I slip into my jeans. Hello muffin top, where did you come from? I know there are many opinions about weighing yourself daily. I’ve had many conversations with clients about this. In the past, I’ve gone by how my clothes fit since everything is pretty tailored. However, I really want to keep my stress eating in check. Using a scale more often during the week will help me realize when weight is creeping on instead of having to stress more after I’ve realized I’ve gained 10 pounds. I don’t want to sound like I’m fixated on my weight but the first time I was in nursing school, 15 pounds found their way onto my body waaaayyyy to fast and it took me most of that year to get it off.
  • Find a good balance of work, school, family, friends, and personal time. I am so guilty of getting wrapped up in work/school/sleep and ignore all the people who mean so much to me. They are the ones who help me relax so why the heck do I not make time for social hour? At the same time, I also need a little personal time here and there where I can just enjoy the silence and peace. You know, do important girl stuff like look at my pores and wax my eyebrows.
  • Continue to take care of my spirituality. Why is it we get all spiritual when life is circling the toilet but as soon as blue sky’s break out, we’re back to relying on ourselves? I want to make sure I’m always trying to find peace daily and spend some time in prayer and reflection. Maybe throw in some deep yoga breathing too 🙂
  • Keep up my eating habits. I usually don’t struggle with eating junk. I truly love fresh foods and simple meals of salad, chicken, roasted veggies, etc. However, with winter coming and when I get stressed, I tend to want more heavy meals (mmmm homemade mac and cheese). I get into this mindset that “oh, I’ve had a really hard day, I can totally have ice cream straight out of the carton.” I need to redo my reward system and stop thinking that because my day was hard, I can have extras of everything. Hey 15 extra pounds, it’s been a long time. Don’t worry, I’m not denying myself either. I’ve got some amazing chocolate squares that always seem to satisfy me after 1-2 pieces. I also love frozen whipped bananas with chocolate sauce or good Greek yogurt with fruit preserves. Mmmmmm.

Whew. Feeling better already. By the way, I found my version of “Serenity Now.”  It’s a picture from the Grand Tetons. Maybe I’ll spent 5 minutes a day dreaming of floating down this river……

What are healthy ways you handle stress? 

 

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A diggin’ fool

 

Confession: I’m a personal trainer who doesn’t belong to a gym. Gasp! After spending so many years and hours in them both personally and as a trainer, I’m just a little tired of the scene. Plus, I’m being super thrifty now and saving my pennies for some cool trips. However, I’ve got tons of home equipment in my little apartment and can do a pretty good workout on my own. I also like looking for opportunities to do some manual labor to squeeze in an extra workout. Which brings us to a random morning when my dad mentioned he was needing our garden dug up so he can plant. Hello arms and back workout! Here’s a before shot of some hard, dried out Kansas soil. Hard to believe that last year this was a bountiful garden.

Row by row, dig, scoop, turn, dig. My dad isn’t a big believer on spending extra money on fancy things, like oh, say a tiller, when he has kids to do this stuff.

These guys decided to show up and make things complicated by lying on the cool dirt.

Even though the dirt was turned up, there were still large chunks that were not conducive for tiny seeds and plants. So even though my dad doesn’t have that fancy tiller, he does have this contraption…..

Apparently this is what they used back in the good ol’ days. It busts up the clods and fluffs the dirt. Are you surprised we have Internet and cable because some days I am.

Two hours later, I had a space about the size of a single car garage dug up. My back and arms got the workout I was hoping for and the dogs got to roll around in some fresh dirt. We were all pretty tired and dirty and I was craving fresh squeezed lemonade. Nothing beats a quick dash through the hose!

What’s your favorite non-gym workout?


 

Taking Flight

 

Hi! I’m Andrea and this is my dog Nellie…..

On what was a normal walk down the drive for the morning paper, a little surprise popped up……

Isn’t she precious??!! How someone could have decided they didn’t want her is beyond me, but they did, and proceeded to dump her in my brother’s car. She was barely 4 months old but already full of love, happy tail wags, and puppy kisses.

Since then, I’ve made up for her traumatic appearance into this world. We take lots of these….

She’s also my running buddy and all around little shadow. Don’t let the pink polo fool you either; she’s a fierce protector.

So what’s up with this flight? Well, I used to be a personal trainer until I got tired of watching people do push ups so I became a registered nurse in a critical care unit. Now I take care of people who didn’t have personal trainers. While taking flight is another descriptor for running, I feel that it embodies what I want to live for and what I want other people to experience-happiness and wellness. Lots of focus is placed on hard bodies and the next hot diet and people forget that wellness embraces more than the physical. We also need to make sure we’re taking care of our social, spiritual, occupational, emotional, environmental, and intellectual self.

It has taken me awhile to get to this point in my life and I still need daily reminders not to forget about certain pillars of my wellness. I try to keep my life full of running, biking, hiking, adventurous travels, fresh cooked foods, great friends, and happiness. I want to encourage you in your flight of life and wellness while learning how you make this journey.  I don’t expect everyone to rock hiking boots and dirt-streaked legs. I’m pretty realistic knowing that this is not everyone’s thing. However, I do hope you have a daily moment where you do something that benefits you and your body. It’s time to take flight and live!!

What is your daily moment for your body?