Tag Archives: fitness

How I Self-Care

In my line of work, people talk a lot about self-care to ensure that you do not forget to take care of yourself while being so wrapped up in taking care of others. Now that I have worked at my job for over a month, I have started to notice changes in my self-care routine. My nightly journal entries are often rushed. Sometimes there are long lazy lines my pen made as I started to doze off mid-sentence. If I exercise twice in one week, then it’s considered a good week. I eat unhealthy food late at night. My body struggles to recover from staying up all night for work. I find that I spend most of my days off inside, behind a computer screen. It has been weeks since I have done something for fun with friends. My job is going great, but my self-care is not. 

All of the self-improvement goals I thought were firmly implemented into my life have been thrown off balance by my new employment. There are a little more than three months until I turn 24 and, by then, I want to be on the right track in terms of my mental and physical health, my social life, and my rate of creative output. Hence, I think it is fitting that I update my goals to reflect my self-care goals. I want to be able to work full-time and also really focus on my own well-being.

The following are preliminary ideas I have for a quality self-care routine:

1. Pack healthy food to bring for work. With my current schedule, there are five meals I have to eat at work per week (one lunch, three dinners, and one breakfast). The breakfast is pretty easy to skip or to get away with just eating a piece of fruit, so it’s really those three dinners and one lunch about which I’m concerned.
a. Bring a healthy entree, but also bring healthy snacks in case there isn’t time for a full-            blown meal.
b. Make a salad from the salad bar and eat a vegetable side dish to satisfy your appetite               long enough before you get a break.
c. If the dessert looks like it’ll be really worth it, then eat a few bites or half of it.

2. Make plans with people for your days off. Find the people in your social network who may be free at any time during your free days and make a plan. See a movie. Get coffee. Get lunch. Go bowling. See a play. Something.
a. If no one is free, plan out your day doing something that is productive. Clean your                    room. Go to the bank. Go to the doctor. Complete a task that has been looming over                your head.
b. Additionally, make plans to do something that just makes you feel good. This can be              watching a TV show or lying outside or going for a bike ride. You name it. There are                  ways to be absolutely happy and content that are not dependent upon others.

3. Exercise as often as you can. Something I have discovered about myself is that I feel so good after a workout. It gives my whole day a brand new, shiny outlook. Based on my current schedule, my exercise schedule should be Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday before lunch, and then Saturday during my break at work.
a. Sign up for a fitness class on your day off or before 1:30 on weekdays to meet new                   people and peer pressure yourself into the workout.

4. Leave work at work. In other words, be completely present in work while at work, but leave it behind during my days off. Beyond a few sentences on how my day at work was, it should be out of my mind so I can relax.
a. Check work email once a day, but not before bed! This should reduce the frequency                of work-related dreams.

5. Use overnights for creative output. I’ve already started a few experimental writing projects during my two overnights so far. I would love to continue this, as the overnight is a time when I’m not supposed to be doing anything else. I can’t exercise or go outside. It’s the perfect time to sit behind a screen and write something!

6. Use those 66 hours well. Sometimes, it feels like I’m working ALL the time, but it’s not true. I did some quick math and discovered that I have 66 awake hours per week that I can use in whatever way I want!

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During Picture #1

I just finished level one of the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and I have mixed feelings. So far, my weight and measurements are the same as when I started. Additionally, I have not noticed too much difference in my muscles. I can still only do about five push-ups. The only small changes I’ve seen so far are slightly more defined muscles in my calves and my right bicep finally starting to show (for some reason, my right bicep is historically much smaller than my left even though I’m right-handed).

For all you visual people out there, here is my “during” picture, which you can compare with my starting picture here. I do not see any difference and I actually may even think I look better in the first set of pictures! Of course, I’m going to keep pushing through the DVD because I know I’m only one third of the way there. Jillian is very inspiring and keeps me pushing myself, so I’m enjoying the workouts and they really make me sweat, too!

Carolyn 30 DS level2

Before Picture

I’m about to do the 30 Day Shred and I can’t wait to see what Jillian Michaels has in store for me! Even though I’m doing better than ever on eating healthy food, I still have a looooong way to go when it comes to fitness and strength training. Hopefully by the end by the end of this I’ll have some muscles to show off to all of you!

(A picture of me without a shirt on makes me a little self-conscious, but I’m going for it!)

Carolyn 110 Aug 18 2013

Goals of Week 3

I can’t believe it’s been a full week already! Maintaining this blog has really helped to keep me motivated and held accountable for my goals, so I’m happy and very grateful to anyone who has liked or commented. You’re keeping me energized and I thank you. 🙂 If you’re curious, here is how I did last week.

1. HAIRCUT. (Beauty)I keep putting this one off because I’m very indecisive about what style I want. I usually just get a trim to get rid of dead ends with absolutely no styling. I also want to donate my hair to Locks of Love or Pantene, BUT I’m not sure my hair would be used because of those dead ends. Also, I would want to go to an expensive salon to get an awesome cut and styling, but I can’t afford that right now. Decisions, decisions.

2. When nail polish starts to chip, remove it and re-paint. (Beauty) I’m leaving this one on for one more week. I plan on re-painting tomorrow or latest Monday based on the faint traces of chipping now. I love painting my nails so much more now that I’ve grown out my nails more!

3. Early to bed, early to rise. (Health) I am seriously rocking this! Even though my summer job ended, I still go to bed by 11 PM and wake up at 7-something AM. This is going to stay on the list for at least one more week, though. This is a tricky one!

4. Brush twice and floss every day. (Health) I’ve made progress on this one, but I’m not ready to remove it from the list. I floss every day and I brush about every other morning (in addition to at night).

5. Write one-page journal entries. (Hobbies) I’m making progress on this, but I’m not quite there yet. My entries have been noticeably longer the past few days, but I still occasionally write and talk at the same time.

6. Submit three job applications. (Professional) I’ve been rocking this! I applied to a bunch of teaching jobs in one district, I was told I have an interview for next week that still needs to be scheduled, AND I went to a job fair. This one is probably not going to be removed until I actually get a job because applying always takes effort; it’s not second nature or a habit to apply. I’m upping the expectations here: three job apps!

7. Lift weights regularly. (Health) I did this three times last week with my five-pound weights. My arms are never sore the day after, but the most I’ve been able to do is fifteen reps at a time. I’ll go harder this week and report results!

8. Read Game of Thrones. (Hobbies) This is a book I started half a year ago, got to page 200, and put down because I was too busy with lesson plans. Now it’s time to finish it!

9. Do not bite cuticles. (Bad Habits) This one is going to be so tough, but I’m in it to win it. I’ve had this gross habit for way too many years!

10. Enter sweepstakes every day. (Novel Experiences) I should probably do this every day, even if it’s just for fifteen minutes, if I want a shot at winning something by my birthday.

11. Keep a food/exercise journal. (Health) I found a moleskine journal in my desk and started recording my intake and outtake on Tuesday. Let’s see if I can make this a habit!

12. Keep a positive things journal. (Personal) I started this one a few days ago. I was originally going to do a jar, but I figured the journal would be more space-efficient. Also, I would like to be able to see that one positive thing for specific days in the future, I imagine.

(Drum roll): Here are the items I’m removing from my list!

1. Eat a multivitamin every day. (Health)

2. Remove all makeup before bed. (Beauty)

3. Drink LOTS of water. (Health)

4. Cook new, healthy recipes. (Health)

Note: Removing an item from my list means that doing the item has become a habit–almost something I don’t have to think about anymore. I just automatically do it. It certainly does not mean that I’m going to ignore doing those items anymore in lieu of new goals. If I slip up on any of the items I retired from my list, then they go right back onto my list the following week.

My Measurements

Today, July 19, 2013, I’m taking my measurements. I know that the scale doesn’t tell the full story. My ultimate goal is to have a BMI of 20.0, but BMI is calculated using weight and doesn’t take into account muscle. So, I’ve decided that I’m going to also look to my measurements for signs of progress! I decided I’d do this while the measuring tape was out because I was doing bra-fitting measurements. Side note: My band size was 29 and their smallest is 30; no wonder none of those Victoria Secret bras never fit me quite right!

Chest: 32 inches (I hope this doesn’t get any smaller!)
Waist: 25 inches (goal: 24)
Hips: 36.5 inches (goal: 34)
Thighs: 21.5 inches (goal: 19)
Upper arm: 9.5 inches (goal: 9)

Here is the website I used to help me find my measurements. I’m not trying to lose a ton of inches, but I do have a few goals in mind. If you’re curious to find your ideal measurements based on height, check out skinnythigh.com that tells you the ideal range. I have a small body frame, so my ideal would be the smallest measurements included. I don’t know how doable it is to reduce some of these (like hips), but I’m going to exercise and eat healthy. Any improvements will be superb!

What 2 Liters of Water Looks Like

Four bottles of 16.9 fluid ounces of water = two liters of water. From everything that I’ve read, it seems the consensus is that two liters of water per day is considered the optimal amount to consume. I don’t know about you, but drinking enough water has always been a struggle for me. In the past, I have gone until the evening before realizing that I never drank a single thing the whole day. That’s pretty unhealthy if you ask me! Not drinking enough water can cause head aches, mood swings, and overeating. Really, there’s no reason not to stay hydrated!

4 bottles

Here are five fast reasons why you should drink enough water daily:

1. It keeps you hydrated.
2. It flushes out your system.
3. It’s good for your skin.
4. It makes you feel fuller.
5. It’s ZERO calories.

How much water do you drink per day?

I Ran the Whole Time

Every year since I can remember, my town has had an early morning 5K race right before the Fourth of July parade. Also every year since I can remember, I have slept in until about ten minutes into the start of the parade. I remember thinking, “How on earth can those people wake up so early? And how can they run, of all things, when the temperature is so high?” This year, I decided that I would find for myself by registering for the race the day before on a whim. I had already done The Color Run (see my entry here) and I figured that this was the perfect opportunity to level up!

stretch5kI woke up about an hour and fifteen minutes before the race so I could eat, drink, and use the bathroom. My biggest fear associated with running is having to go to the bathroom badly in the middle of a race! I ate a piece of cinnamon raisin toast with peanut butter, which I thought sounded like a pretty good choice (I’m no expert on the best pre-race food). Next, my sister and I headed over to the start line, where we met up with our very dear family friend, Vanessa. This 17-year-old is a huge inspiration to me because she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about four years ago and today she’s cancer-free! What’s more, she joined the school’s cross country team and runs 5K races like no one’s business. Meeting up with her at the start of the race was the perfect thing to get my spirits extra high for the race. We stretched for a few minutes while chatting (from left: me, my sister, Vanessa). As you can see in the picture, I’m on the way to placing my palm flat on the ground for maximal stretch.

We joined the ~500 other people at the start line. Unlike The Color Run (which had ~50,000 people), there was only one wave. I knew to pace myself from the start because I had one main goal: not to be the last person finishing. My secondary “bonus” goal was to finish the whole 3.1 miles without stopping. I ran and I ran. My younger sister ran ahead of me after getting fifteen minutes into the race. I just kept chugging along, listening to my music, and fueling myself on bystanders who smiled, waved, clapped, and otherwise cheered me on. The water break was at the two-mile marker and I knew that I was nearing my record time for running without stopping. I kept going. Even though my jogging slowed down, I was not walking. I passed a few people. A few people passed me. I ignored the fit and trim mom pushing a jogging stroller past me on the left. I focused on me and my own internal rhythm. Toward the end, I had lost almost all of my energy, but I kept going on adrenaline. I felt fueled in a very unique way by the other people chugging along around me. I had thoughts, like “That woman has fat rolls in her thighs and she’s ahead of me!” and “That women looks like she’s 65 and she’s still plugging away!”

merunninggWhen I saw the finish line, I was overwhelmed by relief and triumph. I pumped my fist and yelled “Wooooo!” at my dad, who videotaped me as I crossed the finish line. At the last moment, I found strength inside of me that I didn’t know I had and I sprinted as fast as I could, passing up a woman who had been ahead of me for most of the race. After finishing, I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment (and a little wave of nausea from pushing myself so hard). I did it! I actually did it! After reenacting crossing the finish line (my mom didn’t have my dSLR on the right function during the real thing) and grabbing a bagel and Gaterade, I revealed to my parents that I felt the challenge of running the whole 5K without stopping was one of the hardest things I had ever done in my entire life. I told them that getting a college degree was almost easier because I have never doubted in my life my intellectual ability to excel in academic classes. Running, on the other hand, was a whole different story. To me, this was the ultimate challenge of physical strength and stamina (even if it was “just” a 5K). And I conquered it! The first thing that came out of my mouth after finishing was, “I’m never doing this again!” but now I’m already thinking about when my next race will be. Now that I have overcome the major hurdle of the first big run, I’m ready for another round. Maybe next time I can even shave a minute or two off my time! What can I say? I’ve had a taste of running races and I’m hooked!

cross finishline