Tag Archives: Stress

Strength & Selfies

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“Hey there, ho there, how do ya do…”

Okay, sorry, I just accidentally channeled my inner Lana (Mandy Moore) from The Princess Diaries.

I wish I had more than a few minutes to stay and play, especially given that I have blogged a very sad number of times this month, but I am positively swamped. I’m putting in 20-25 hours per week at my Internship site — which I am absolutely loving — plus I have more than a lot going on classwork-wise. That’s all I’ll say so as not to go on a stress-induced rant… Besides, sometimes life just gets in the way of blogging. Sorry I’m not sorry that I don’t have the mental or physical dedication to get up an hour early just to make sure I post something daily. As much as I love blogging and I genuinely appreciate the feedback I receive, I don’t anticipate receiving this year’s Hardcore Extreme Blogger Award.

Tonight I want to talk about my two self-challenges for October (y’all know I love a good challenge ;-)) — strength and selfies.

[Ummm… what?]

My first self-challenge is to complete three days of strength-training for every one cardio workout. Whether that be yoga, weight-lifting, intensive stretching, or what have you, I am determined to fit more strength-training into my workouts. I’m not seeing the muscle tone or definition results I’d like, and my weight loss has all but stagnated. I’m not gaining weight, but I’m certainly not losing it, either. I’m hoping to take progress pictures to remind myself of how far I’ve come and of the gradual progress I’m making toward the fit woman I aspire to be! I haven’t decided yet whether these will grace the blog. I’m not one of those brave souls out there who can bare all via Instagram for the sake of comparison. More power to ya, but my tummy ain’t makin’ the front page anytime soon!

My second challenge is to take more pictures of myself! This does not literally mean the blog will suddenly be full of selfies, but… Well, I do live alone… So yeah, that’s probably exactly what it’ll mean! In looking through my iPhone recently, I have found that about ninety percent of the photos I take are of food, food prep, grocery-shopping, adult beverages, wedding dresses… basically anything and everything except myself. I realized that what makes me enjoy other bloggers’ sites so much is their photos of them actually doing the things they’re blogging about. This is something I’d like to beef up, too.

That said, I’m off and running! No rest for the weak and weary, is there? 😉

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Thanks for stopping by!

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The Week from Hell

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You guys, I’d like to be able to tell you that the reason I haven’t blogged in six days is because I’ve been having so much fun, loving life, and stopping to smell the roses. But honestly, this week was the week from hell.

This was my first official week on the job, and I am working with three full-time staff and five wet-behind-the-ears trainees. We get along really well and we have great chemistry as a group, but things were a little bit off kilter this week trying to adjust to everything. I’m not complaining, though; this is my fourth summer, and I remember exactly what it was like to be the wide-eyed new girl trying to soak everything in without mucking it up too badly. I’m grateful that I have eight easy-going colleagues who don’t seem to mind my OCD.

So, after working from 7:45 until 3:30 or 4:00 each day, I came home, packed my lunch for the following day, and poured myself into bed for a 20- or 30-minute nap. At 5:00, my mom and my sister Caroline and I were out the door for Vacation Bible School. Dinner was served at 5:30, and then we nursery workers hightailed it down to man our post. For as long as I can remember, the three of us–accompanied by various helpers over the years–have been the requisite VBS nursery volunteers. We’re not especially interested in participating in VBS for whatever reason, but we’d still like to do something in the way of helping out. Many moons ago, we found our niche! It’s actually quite relaxing to sit in a rocking chair and supervise little ones as they entertain themselves “making dinner” and playing with a Little Tikes piano.

Come 8:30, though, I was fried. I would come home, chat for a few minutes with Dad, throw some shampoo and water in the direction of my hair, and collapse. A few nights, I managed to make some decaf and sit in the swing with Mom, but most nights I was just so excited to see my inviting bed.

To say that “I didn’t have time for the gym” is just an excuse, especially since I was getting 8-9 hours of sleep per night. But, I know my own body and I know my limits, and adequate rest wins over trying to force the gym into a chaotic week. Fingers crossed, next week will be calmer and more routine. I’m beginning to forget that I ever knew what boring, same-old-same weeks used to look like. This summer has been so go-go-go that I feel like I’ve hardly taken a breath.

Again, I’m not complaining. I know that I’ve been very blessed with the opportunity to take two vacations, to get two (very, very interesting) classes out of the way to lighten my load during my third year, to volunteer for VBS, and to be rehired at my favorite job in the world for the fourth consecutive summer. Opportunity has knocked, and I have repeatedly answered. Sometimes, though, it’s just nice to have a second to yourself.

Prayer has been one of my biggest allies through all of this, though I think God and I are on different wavelengths right now. We’ll get our stride back, though. I know He has big plans for me coming up; I’m just not sure what they are yet or where they’ll take me.

Today was… better. I “slept in” until 8:40, then enjoyed (caffeinated) coffee outside with Mom. There were blueberry pancakes for brunch, then Mom and I braved the Saturday madness at our fourth bridal store. There had been talk of Capital Ale House for dinner, and I was delighted to find out that it was true. My favorite lamb burger and orange chive vinaigrette mixed greens salad almost made this week worth it. I even indulged in a raspberry Lambic before we set out for Monsters University (which, by the way, is super adorable and totally worth the outrageous theatre price).

Finally, I wanted to tell you about my first week with Simone France. First of all, the skincare regimen is super easy to get used to after just a few days. I already feel like a pro at “making the sandwich”–Simone France’s terminology for the morning regimen. Here’s my cheesy giddy selfie after five days of regular SF usage:

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My skin is by no means cleared of the little bumps that seem to hang out around my hairline, or the blackheads that have adorned my nose and chin for eons. However, I love how non-greasy and yet simultaneously moisturized my skin feels throughout the day. It feels soft and smooth without having that lovely oily sheen. I’m sad that I’m almost halfway through my official SF cleansing cloths, but I’m seriously considering investing in more of the product line with my own money. Of course, Colleen’s glowing endorsement didn’t hurt, but I am living proof that this stuff really works and that the experience of using it has been nothing but pleasurable.

Now, it’s quite time for bed. Tomorrow we are skipping church — which probably doesn’t help my cause with the Big Man — in favor of getting to my cousin’s baby shower in Staunton on time. Hopefully, I’ll have really adorable pictures to share with you.

If you’re still reading, thanks for letting me vent! I’d love to know: How was your week?

This Week Sucked [For Lack of a Better Title]

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Good (late) evening, blends. This has been a pretty lame start to June in terms of the blogosphere, and I blame that entirely on myself. I’ve been making excuses for why I didn’t have time to blog, but I’ve also been doing some serious prioritizing.

This past week, I did nothing but re-train for my fourth consecutive summer at my favorite job in the world, read for my two upcoming M.Ed. classes, sleep, try to spend an hour or so each night with my family, and eat — in that order. To say the least, this week was incredibly stressful. In order to prepare for next week’s one-week intensive course, I need to have read a 240-page novel, as well as a 186-page textbook. (Both of which I found out about 12 days prior to the start of the course.) Ready… Set… Go!

Oh, and did I mention that after two days of diligent reading and dogged highlighting, I discovered that I was reading the wrong textbook? That’s right, folks. Nothin’ like a jolting realization at 7:15 in the morning to jump-start my day. I’m now 50 pages into a textbook I don’t need for two weeks. Hey, I suppose extra-extra preparation can’t hurt!

Between training from 8:00-3:00 each day and reading for 1.5-2 hours per day, exercise and blogging have unfortunately taken a backseat. I did manage to squeeze in a 30-minute run around our Y’s indoor track and a couple of medium-intensity swims.

If you’re still a regular reader, I want to thank you for sticking around. I guess I lied when I said regular blogging would resume shortly. I’m going to do my best, but honestly, I haven’t had a lot to say of late. I try to be two things on this little blog slice — honest and positive. Had I blogged this week, I fear I would have been overly honest and “underly” positive. Not only have I felt pulled in all directions recently, I’ve had a bit of difficulty managing my stress level and keeping myself in check. Not enough hours in the day and too little exercise will do that to a person, I suppose.

In the end, what matters is not how well prepared I am to begin my six weeks of teaching in July, nor how many pages I have read in preparation for a class. What matters, first and foremost, is my health, and that is where my focus needs to be. This weekend and next week, while I’ll still be busy, I’m going to work on re-centering myself and focusing on what really matters to me.

Check back with me in a few days. I may have something better for ya by then 😉 Oh, and thank you to those of you who texted and tweeted, wondering whether I was AWOL. Your concern is greatly appreciated!

Establishing a Routine

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As part of individual supervision today, my on-site supervisor at my Practicum and I were discussing self-care with regard to diet, exercise, and weight loss. I divulged that over the past 13 months, I have lost — and maintained the weight-loss of — 35 pounds. She asked me how I had done it with such a busy schedule. (I imagine that she was trying to place my running and strength-training sessions in her daily routine, and having difficulty. Everyone’s busy schedule is unique, so what worked for me won’t necessarily work for her, and vice versa.) She is a licensed professional counselor (LPC), which is my down-the-road aspiration. Her schedule is so action-packed that I wasn’t surprised to hear her say she doesn’t have time to work out, and when she does find time, there are other things she’d rather be doing.

Our conversation got me to thinking…

When I’m out in the real world, I (hopefully) won’t be trying to balance a full courseload, planning a wedding, finding summer employment, establishing an Internship site, traveling back and forth between school and Richmond, managing a somewhat long-distance relationship, carrying out daily-living tasks and classwork assignments, and finding time to exercise and eat well.

However, I will be trying to manage a household, balance my career with my marriage and my social life, and find time to exercise and eat well. Lord only knows what my life will look like when kids are factored into that equation…

This not-so-distant-future got me to thinking:

How valuable it is to establish a routine so that when all of these requirements, time demands, and stressors collide, I will (again, hopefully) already know where treating my body right fits into all of that chaos! I have an established routine now, and even the added 10+ hours of weekly Practicum didn’t disrupt my routine much. Next semester, when I’m in my Internship, I’ll have to re-establish my routine yet again. This is all good practice for Big Girl World and the adult responsibilities that come with it.

That being said, I’m off to the gym for a little QT with my iPod and some weight machines 😉

[Edited to add: For the month of February, I traveled 56.22 miles! In keeping with my 2,013 in 2013 goal, I “should have” traveled 154.42 miles for a total of 325.389 miles in 2013 thus far. Last February, I traveled 41.83 miles. Always improving!]