Saturday Morning Bliss

It’s a freezing, extremely windy morning in NYC.  I would like to report that those factors did not stop me from walking my booty to the laundromat to wash my toppling pile of dirty clothes, but alas, it did.  Usually I multi-task laundry and the gym because they are located just a block apart, but no laundry equalled no gym.  I did, however, wake up before the birds at 6am, meditated, roasted an acorn squash with coconut oil cinnamon and brown sugar (the best winter snack!), and completed my Chemistry homework.  Not bad for a Saturday morning.

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With my busy schedule, Saturday mornings are typically the only day of the week that I don’t have to wake up crazy early and rush to the train.  I love to lounge and create some sort of amazing breakfast on these days.  Schoolwork is more exciting with a delicious meal involved.

The first paper for my Human Nutrition project is due at the beginning of March.  I actually LOVE research, it is fascinating to me.  We were given many topics to choose from.  I’m debating between:

  • Are soy products good or bad for your health?
  • What are the benefits and risks of a Vegan diet?
  • Is high-fructose corn syrup worse than other sugars?
  • Are organic foods really healthier than those that are conventionally grown?

 I’ve already researched some of these topics over the last 6 years, after I first decided to adapt to a Vegan diet (I am not currently Vegan).  Not sure what I will decide on, but I am super excited to be researching and writing about things that I am passionate about!  Nutrition nerd 🙂

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Locker Rooms

I never used to change in the gym locker rooms, at least not the communal area. I would go in to that side room.  You know, the one with the door that locks.  Hiding away from everyone who I was absolutely certain was judging my body and all its imperfections…

There was one exception to this.  Last year when I did a 30-day hot yoga challenge, I was actually starting to feel that I was toning up my body and felt slightly more self-confidence.  So for the last couple weeks of my challenge, I changed my clothes with everyone else.  Guess what?  It wasn’t that bad.  I miss having the time to practice yoga in a class setting.  It was powerful, seeing women (and men) of all different body types completing amazing healing poses, supporting each other by breathing together.  It was undoubtedly the most positive space I’ve been in for as long as I can remember.  I felt genuinely happy and a definite sense of belonging.

Since I’ve returned to the world of the gym several weeks ago, I haven’t hidden once.  Although I’m more uncomfortable with my body than I have been in so long, I am working hard not to punish myself for that.  There are so many unhealthy thoughts that scream at me when I look in the mirror, but all I can do is work at improving myself and of course changing my harsh perception.

Physical confidence comes and goes for me.  Most of my self-assurance comes from knowing that I am really smart and kicking major ass in college.  My education is what pushes me forward, always.  I’m hopeful that someday I’ll look in the mirror and the positive thoughts will outweigh the negative ones.

Early Riser

Had a mellow night and purposefully went to bed early last night so I could wake up early and refreshed.  So that’s what I did, but I had so much stomach pain when my 4am alarm went off.

There is so much anxiety inside me lately and I have yet to figure out why.  I wake up early specifically to meditate, because I know that is necessary in my everyday life.  Even during meditation, I can feel my heart racing.  Even during deep breathing and in the silence and the stillness.  I felt a little bit better after I was done, had some breakfast and hot tea.

My theory is that my almost hour and half morning commute to school is at the root of my anxiety.  Small spaces packed with people who can honestly be very cruel at times.  When I was transferring at Union Square this morning, some guy pushed me on the stairs and I almost fell backwards.  There are parts of me that despise this city that I once loved so much.  But I refuse to let the bad parts win.

I know that with anxiety and stress, it is important to change or eliminate the causes; either your routine, the environments that surround you or any people who make you feel uncomfortable.  I can only change so many things.

I live in an apartment building with so much noise, which can be at all times of the day and night.  The neighbor I share a wall with blasts music so loud that the bass shakes my room.  I have tried pleasantly talking to them, especially when it has happened at 3am, but they continue to do it.  I feel like there is nothing I can do to change it and that alone makes me feel anxious.  My room is supposed to be this safe space where I can relax, do schoolwork and sleep at normal sleeping times.  My neighbors make it nearly impossible.  I know that I should move, but I am only in NYC for one more year and just resigned my lease.

So I escape to coffee shops, my campus, the gym, and any other place in the city where I can get some peace.  I guess if I carry that peace with me, I can get through anything.

Lately I am getting to know myself all over again and that is both challenging and healing.  More than ever, I understand why I am such a dreamer.  I long for better situations, better surroundings, a better environment: a simpler life.  That is what I am working towards.

Back to Reality

Today was my first day back to classes and it went well.  My professors are great and I feel like I really know what I’m doing this semester; perhaps more prepared and focused.  One of the classes I am taking is Stress Management and today we did about 45 minutes of yoga and meditation.  I have to say that was my absolute favorite moment of college thus far.  Earning college credits for reducing stress and practicing yoga??!?  It’s going to be an amazing semester.

I am also taking my second health class in which the focus is mainly nutrition; this is extra exciting because nutrition is my major and I am so ready to dive further into the topic.  I am taking a CPR course, Communications and Chemistry (terrifying but semi-thrilling) as well.

I’m ready for more challenges, more knowledge and more tools to advance myself and my career.

TGIF

It’s Friday.  I had a fun day at work (my co-workers were basically my therapy), I’m now headed to the gym to run my ass off, and coming home to make a big pot of three bean soup without an actual recipe.  I decided I’m not allowed to stay inside for long periods of time.  Too much thinking is dangerous, it feels better to just live life as it comes.  Pictures of my magical soup to follow…

Flux

I have my good days and my bad, just the same as the next person.

It’s been hard to get out of bed this week.  This happens sometimes.  It could be the cold grey of the winter, maybe its more.

Mental health is undoubtedly just as important as physical health.  I always knew depression was present in me, at different levels throughout my early youth until now.  Though now, it’s become stronger.

It feels inferior almost.  Last semester I learned all the ways to handle the everyday realities of stressors that can be present in our daily lives.  Even still, I can’t figure it out this time.

School starts back up next week and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.  I’m worried that I won’t be able to balance all the pieces of my overwhelming puzzle.  More so, I am worried that I will be able to balance them, but what will that do to me. How will I suffer because of it.

I try so hard, work obsessively, pressure myself to succeed and in the end I have accomplished good things.  But I still never feel satisfied.  I don’t feel good enough.

There was a time that I felt there were many people out there that I could talk to.  Things are different now.  Forums such as twitter, facebook, instagram, etc. don’t make me feel close to my ‘friends’.  I actually feel more alone.  Almost everyone I was once close with no longer has time to talk; they have their own lives.  I don’t feel like I have anything in common with people who used to be my everything, including my sisters.  This kills me.

All of us need someone to talk to.  It is impossible to survive in solitude, which is where I feel I hide most of the time.

I have always been afraid of therapy, but I know I have to face my fears.  I have to figure out all this hurt that is ruling me lately.

All the meditation, exercise and yoga isn’t changing much.  It’s time to commit to more.

Week One

So I didn’t exactly eat the healthiest this week.  Let’s just say that I’m not allowed to buy a jar of peanut butter every again…

With that being said, I didn’t eat horribly and I have kept my workout schedule quite steadily.  I went to the gym 5 out of the last 8 days, which isn’t bad considering.  I started the couch to 5k running program again. This was very successful for me a couple of years ago before I ran my first, and only, 5k.

Running is crazy painful when you haven’t done it for a long time.  My mind wants to give up often, but I know that my body is more than capable of amazing things.  I made a motivational running playlist for my iPad (music is the only thing that gets me running) and I plan to push on through.  Hopefully by March, I’ll be back up to 3 miles and am able to sign up for one of the many runs that are available here in the Spring/Summer.

Getting to the gym is the easy part mostly.  The minor obstacle is to motivate myself to bundle up in layers when it’s 15 degrees outside and walk those 5 freezing blocks.  The real challenge is sticking to a balanced diet.  I tend to over eat.  It’s mostly healthy things, but I eat too much of them.  So I’ve been recording calories again in the LoseIt app, something that was also very helpful for me a few years back.  Besides that, I’m trying to cook meals full of vegetables ahead of time so that when I’m hungry there is always something available to snack on.

I feel better than I did a week ago.  That is all that matters to me.  Progress is always progress, no matter how small.

Pressing

Dear fragile soul

You are not meant to understand

There are plently things you will never know

You will fall, you will win

There are times you will fail before you even begin

Days will hurt

You will run

As hard as it is

There will be fun

And you will love

you will lose

the skies will be grey and blue

beyond the edges of this vast world

endless at that

you will be loved for real

if you can only learn how to feel

the answers are not all there

you cannot solve every riddle

Walk this soil full of that burning desire

and that heart you guard,

someday you’ll learn to share

let that sunlight warm the parts of you that hide

there’s hope out there waiting

but mostly it’s inside

Mirror Dancing

It’s only been a few days since I re-introduced exercise back into my life and already the difference I feel is so significant.  Two strong days at the gym and some yoga today at home.  While it’s important to get in a gym routine, I believe it’s just as important to be able to work out in some way in your home.  For me, it’s especially essential for when classes start again and my free time completely disappears.

On top of daily exercise, I am doing everything I can to feel good about myself every day.  I have started taking vitamins again (extra important for vegetarians), drinking 3L of water a day, cooking healthy whole food meals/eating less crap, documenting the days in my journal, recording my calories again, 10-minute meditations every morning, blasting music and dancing around the apartment when the roommates aren’t here (although I’m sure they wouldn’t mind), and making sure I focus on all the things that make me happy.  I even made a list so I can make sure I do these things!!!

Happiness List

The point of all of this?  Exercise is important!  Everything I’ve learned in school so far has verified that exercise fights disease, improves blood flow, reduces stress, etc etc etc.  Plus, endorphins are MAGICAL!  I already knew this, of course.  Sometimes though, I just need an extra kick in the ass.  Seriously.

I’m really looking forward to sharing the next steps of my journey here.  I hope there are people out there reading!  If you are, please comment so I can share in your adventures as well.

***The list is as follows:

  • Cooking
  • Exercise: yoga, running, hiking, dancing
  • Site seeing
  • Traveling/exploring new places
  • Meditation
  • Eating Healthy
  • Watching the sunrise/sunset
  • Writing
  • Laughing
  • Capturing moments through photography
  • Creating
  • Bonding
  • Dreaming
  • Learning
  • Getting A’s on my tests/papers/classes
  • Progress
  • Music
  • Affection
  • Nature
  • Sunlight
  • The Ocean
  • Mountains
  • Coffee
  • Cuddling

Just Like Old Times

As soon as I walked in the door, I felt at home.  It was in that moment, I realized what my life has been missing.  The sweat, the burn, the weight, the pain, the struggle, the challenge, making the impossible possible.  Goals.  Hard work.  Progress.

I ran on and off for thirty minutes on the treadmill.  In intervals, of course, because I am so far from where I used to be. I felt it though.  The power in that moment transported me right back to the day I ran 8 miles for the first time, an unbelievable milestone in my life.  Those endorphins brought me back to life.  Things have been dark, but there are always better things coming.  It’s up to me to make them happen.

I was glowing when I walked back out into the cold New York City air.

I’m back and I’m better.  There will be great things.