Tag Archives: health

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!


How to Do An Overnight Shift

Part of my new job’s work schedule includes at least one overnight shift per week (I say at least because we have to sign up for “on call” overnight shifts, as well). So far, I have completed two overnight shifts and I’m proud to say I’ve learned a thing or two about getting through them in the healthiest way possible. I’m not saying that what I do will work for everyone (for example, I’m not required to complete any tasks but staying up during the night), but here is what has worked for me:

1. Sleep in the morning of the overnight. I start preparing the night before the overnight by staying up until between 1 AM and 3 AM. This allows me to sleep in as late as I possibly can the day before my overnight shift.

2. Don’t eat carbs and processed sugars during the day. I keep my diet very clean the day before the overnight.

3. Relax during the day. I don’t expend too much energy that day. I don’t exercise more than going on a walk.

4. Rest in bed. Even if you can’t fall asleep, spend at least an hour before dinner lying in bed with your eyes closed.

5. Shower after dinner. Before leaving for the overnight, I find that a shower helps trick my body into thinking that it’s time to wake up.

6. Keep yourself entertained at night. I always bring a bunch of different entertainment options with me, including a laptop, TV shows, movies, books, and review books (to study). Text people for as late as anyone else stays awake. Make to-do lists.

7. Walk around if you catch yourself falling asleep. I like to take a quick walk around the room, then sit down.

8. Drink a lot of water and eat food that is high in protein and low in carbs. I usually stick to walnuts, plain non-fat Greek yogurt, an apple, and peanut butter. Don’t eat too much, though. Being full will make you sleepier. I only drink coffee watered down with almond milk as a last resort.

9. When you get home, sleep for a maximum of four hours. If you sleep all day after the overnight, then it’s going to be very difficult to fall asleep the following night!

10. Go to bed before midnight and hug your pillow. You made it! Now, it’s time to go on with your life with a regular sleep schedule like the rest of the world.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Yesterday, after texting my boyfriend that I was going to make cauliflower pizza, he was skeptical. “I tried cauliflower on a pizza once,” he said. “It wasn’t very good.” It wasn’t until I sent a picture to him later of the finished product that I realized I hadn’t been clear about my newest experimental baking endeavor. I did not put cauliflower on top of my pizza; rather, the cauliflower kind of was my pizza. In other words, I used the cauliflower as the base for my crust as a low carb gluten-free alternative to pizza. Pretty cool, huh? Thanks to Pinterest, trying this recipe out has been on my to-do list for at least a year. I finally got the opportunity to take a swing at it when there was a huge head of cauliflower in the fridge on the verge of going bad.

The recipe is sinfully simple, although it may be a bit time intensive. I highly recommend you give this a shot, though; you won’t be disappointed!


1.25 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2.5 cups grated cauliflower
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato sauce
Nonstick cooking spray
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Basil leaves (to taste)


1. Grate your cauliflower. I used a regular old box grater (the same I use to grate mozzarella cheese) and it worked like a charm.
2. Chop your onion and grate your mozz cheese. I shouldn’t have to tell you this in a step, but what the heck.
3. Place the cauliflower crumbles into a bowl and microwave for 6-7 minutes or until warm and pliable.
4. Add a whipped up large egg and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese to the bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Spray the oven tray, then place the mixture onto it. Form the crust (it should be about 10″). Be sure not to make it too thick because then it’s more likely for the middle to be softer when its done. The crispier the better!
6. Place in oven at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Wait until the crust is browned on top.
7. Remove the crust, spread the sauce, add the garlic and red pepper flakes, then sprinkle cheese and onions on top.
8. Put it back into the oven for ten more minutes.
9. If you feel so inclined, sprinkle basil leaves on top.

It’s not actually burnt! The crusts should look like that–nice and crispy. 

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

Blueberry Spinach Almond Bowl

I wasn’t sure what to call this recipe, as it is my own invention (yeah!). I have finally started to get accustomed to blending up tasty smoothies and/or bowls, so I have gotten adventurous in trying different ingredients. I usually eat these as a meal substitute for lunch, often after a light workout.


1 cup organic baby spinach
1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup frozen organic blueberries
1/8 cup raw unsalted almonds
1/4 cup granola
Coconut milk (as needed)


1. Add spinach, yogurt, blueberries, and almonds into a food processor.
2. Add an initial few pours of coconut milk and then add more as needed.
3. Blend away! This is when you add the additional coconut milk.
4. Pour contents into a small individual bowl and add the granola.
5. Eat and rejoice by how you can’t even tell you’re eating spinach!


Black Bean and Cous Cous Salad

We had not gone grocery shopping yet that week, so the contents of our fridge and pantry looked pretty sparse. I was hungry after a long day and was definitely not in the mood to head to the grocery store. Out of curiosity, I typed in a few ingredients we had lying around: black beans and couscous. As a result, I discovered this wonderful recipe that miraculously contained ingredients we already had in the fridge. This recipe is very easy to whip up, it’s high in protein, it’s flavorful, and it’s filling.


1 cup uncooked couscous
1 and 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
3 tablespoons EVOO
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 small onion or half big onion
1 green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 can corn, drained
2 cans black beans, drained
Salt and pepper (to taste)


1. Bring broth to a boil in a two quart or larger saucepan.
2. Stir in the couscous, cover, and remove from the burner. Let stand for at least five minutes (the following steps will probably take longer than that, so you’re golden).
3. In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, lime juice, red wine vinegar, and cumin.
4. Then, add the onion, green pepper, cilantro, corn, and beans into the mix. Stir everything up so the mixture coats evenly.
5. Add the couscous to the large bowl and mix everything together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy! IMG_0129