Slow and Steady

When it rains, it pours. The past few weeks have been nothing short of chaotic (as shown by my absence from the interwebs–sorry!!). I have 3 major papers due in a week and a half, I strained my left gastrocnemius, and I’m just getting over a stomach virus. Needless to say, I haven’t been having the easiest of times. However, my papers need to get done, I want to be able to run without pain, and I’d like to get all this done without pulling out my hair.

photo cred: irunnersblog.com

I’m going to start with using the crap out of my planner. This time last week, I was making a schedule  to allocate my time this weekend. It may seem excessive, but I wrote down what time I plan to wake up, what time I want to get to the library, and how I plan to use my time (45 minutes for an outline, 35 minutes for research, etc). I benefit from this type of structure, and by breaking down one big project into manageable parts, it seems less intimidating.

Listening to my body is going to be vital for both my recovery and my papers. Sitting at the computer for 12 hours in an attempt to finish all my work is not going to be productive. It’s quality, not quantity, right? I also have to listen to my body as far as exercise goes. While running is my main source of stress relief, if it hurts, I simply can’t do it- there are other cardio machines at the gym that I can use to cross train. In order to be an active participant in my recovery, I’m attending physical therapy once a week and have been a stickler about doing my exercises and stretches.  I also got new running shoes because although I loved them, mine were a hot mess.

Womens <em>New Balance 749</em> Running Shoes WR749ST

photo cred: newbalance.com

Lastly, I’m going to go easy on myself. This one is going to be challenging. As a perfectionist, I have a tendency to beat myself up if I don’t live up to my (unrealistic) expectations. It’s important for me to recognize that my expectations are ridiculously high, and if I let something falter, it’s not the end of the world. I think this will be a process, but my injury has shown me that pushing too hard too frequently doesn’t yield desirable results.

Oh, and I’m scheduling a facial after I hand in my last paper 🙂

How do you handle stress?

 

–Ariel

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Present and Accounted For

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, I made some rough draft New You Solutions. I thought that if I reframed the way that I thought and lived, that I would see a positive change. Unfortunately, life got in the way, as usual. I wanted to make a whole list of things I wanted to accomplish, but to be honest, I’m not in the right mindset yet. It’s a struggle for me to find an hour or two to frequent the gym a few times a week, let alone try to go rock climbing or make tiramisu from scratch (two things I’d eventually like to do).  I have been actively trying to stay on top of my exercise routine and eat what makes me feel good, but something still felt a little off. Enter: the moleskine wellness journal.

photo cred: mojolondon.co.uk

My birthday was last week, and this was one of the fantastic gifts that Marissa gave me. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. The journal is divided into sections: Personal Goals, Execise Log, Diet, General Health, Games/Sports, and Inspirations. There are another 6 sections with blank labels, so that you can create your own! I know the importance of writing things down so that they’re concrete, but now that I have something a little more “professional,” I find that keeping track of what I do is much easier. Another important aspect of writing down your goals/activities/diet etc is that it makes you accountable. For example, I got home from my internship on Monday night and began snacking away on some dark chocolate. I wrote it down in my journal and saw that I had quite a bit of sweets that day. The next day, I labeled my diet “Low Sugar Day” in an attempt to cut back on the refined sugars. Did I feel guilty that I ate sugar and chocolate the day before? Not really- it was delicious. Did I learn from my journaling and make changes accordingly? Absolutely. So expect some weekly updates about the goals that I’ve set for the week, and how I’m progressing!

What are some ways that you stay on track?

–Ariel

Drained

So I’ve had a post set aside for about a week and I just haven’t had time to finish it. Have you ever put so much time and energy into something that you don’t want to do that you can’t find the energy to do things that you enjoy? That’s the way I’m feeling about school right now. I have a paper due, a test, and an oral presentation, all on Tuesday. I’ve been studying like crazy and have had zero free time. My mom recently taught me how to cable and I haven’t even had time to knit! I know that this is a temporary feeling, so I’ve just been reminding myself that it’ll be over soon. In the meantime, here is a picture of a guilty pleasure that makes me happy.

That’s right, chocolate covered gummy bears. I’m not a huge candy person, but these are delicious and a great treat for when you’re feeling bogged down with work. I find that giving yourself little rewards is a great way to motivate yourself. Yesterday was the most gorgeous day ever- no wind, 60°, and sunny. PERFECT day for a long run. Or you know, for writing a paper. So I set a goal! If I can finish half of my paper, I will go for a nice bike ride with Mike. And I did.

It is equally important to push through and know your limitations. I know that may seem contradictory, but everyone gets writers block. Whether you don’t want to write about a given subject, or you just don’t know what to write, know that if you are able to start just one more sentence, it could get the ball rolling. Make an outline or just come up with a general theme you want to discuss and go from there. That being said, know when to stop. At around 10:30 last night, I knew that I wasn’t going to produce the quality of work that I wanted. I could tell that I wasn’t just unmotivated, I was spent. If you set aside specific times to do your work, and stick to that schedule, you may not feel overwhelmed.

Remember, most things in life are temporary, and not everything will turn out how you want it to. The best you can do is be yourself, and nobody can tell you that you’re doing it incorrectly.

 

–Ariel

Monday’s Mantra

It’s easy to get lost in your own thoughts and anxiety. The grad school/work/internship cycle is an exhausting one, not to mention time (and money) consuming. Instead of worrying about the future (Job Market? Income? Living in a cardboard box? ACK!) , I try to focus on, as Edna Mode from The Incredibles calls it, “The Now.” Take care of as much as you can right now, and have confidence that the rest will fall into place. Some great tunes never hurt either.

http://www.ourstage.com/blog/2010/8/16/download-of-the-week-lion-of-ido

This is one of my favorite bands, and their lyrics have a tendency to put things in perspective for me. When all else fails, dancing around your living room helps, too- I can vouch for that.

–Ariel