Healthy Habits in the New Semester

Hello and Happy Tuesday! I’m back at college again, after a nice 5-week long winter break. My classes don’t start until Wednesday, but I ended up coming back on Sunday because that’s the day that worked best with my family and their work schedules. Luckily, the drive went very smoothly and safely! I ended up spending my Sunday evening with a trip to Trader Joe’s, unpacked while watching Netflix, made myself a mushroom and avocado quesadilla for dinner, read some of a book, and went to bed at 10:30PM. It was glorious.

So right now, I’m sitting around for a bit, getting a bunch of small tasks and stuff done. Not big, huge stuff, but the typical kind of uninteresting tasks that need to get done before the hustle and bustle of a new semester sets in.

Right now, I’m savoring this little breath of relief in this transition period that I have right now. Yes, I know I’m coming off a 5-week break from studies, but there’s something nice about being at my campus, hanging out with friends before classes start, crossing small items off my to do list, and just being present.

Right now, I have the upcoming semester at the forefront of my mind. Thinking about the classes I’m taking, marking important due dates in my planner, and honestly kind of amping myself up for a lot of stress.

But, I realize that’s probably not the healthiest way to go into a new semester. With any transition and change (hey New Year), I think the natural impulse is to make resolutions and aim for big change. Now, I’m not aiming for huge change or anything. But, I’ve decided that this is the semester to prioritize my own mental well-being.

We live in a culture where stress is glorified. If you’re stressed, it means that you’re working hard, you have big goals, you’re doing allthethingsss… But, I’ve realized at least for me, being crazy busy and stressed all the time is not the greatest. Yes, there will be weeks where life is more stressful than others. But I want the overall tone of this semester needs to be more focused on not being stressed, and doing what it takes to do that.

With all that said, here are some of my plans for having a healthy semester!

Make time for 10 minutes of focused alone time in the morning, and 10 minutes in the evening. I want to start my days off with doing something I enjoy, rather than just scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. The first thing I reach for in the morning is my phone but 9/10 times, nothing important has happened while I slept. Instead, I want to use those 10 minutes that I have in bed in the morning to journal/pray and focus my day, and those 10 minutes before I go to sleep reading. I feel better when I give myself time to take care of myself.

Laugh every single day. I love to laugh. I think most people do, too. I hear about all the health benefits of laughing. I want to do more of it. It means taking some focus off of all the things I have to do, and instead, turning my focus outwards. This will probably mean socializing with people I love, which is never a bad thing.

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Sleep like it’s my job. I am that person who needs 8-9 hours of sleep to feel basically functional. I really try to do that, but I need to work on consistency. This also goes hand in hand with my desire to reduce my caffeine intake. By the end of 2016, it was getting insane. Feeling like I need coffee to get through the afternoon is not ideal. Once in awhile it’s fine, but I don’t want to do that every single day anymore.

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Hugs. I’m not the best at telling people how much I love them. But I am so grateful for all the wonderful people I’ve been blessed with in my life. From my family to my friends to my coworkers, I realize how truly lucky I am. I want to show it more often. Whether it’s through physical affection (roomy, yes I will hug you), or through texts or phone calls, I want to be better about showing love to those that I’m surrounded by.

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Accepting things. Sometimes, life is really imperfect and just isn’t working out. Sometimes, I’m functioning on too little sleep, too much caffeine, and I’m crying and emotional. And I need to realize it’s okay not to be okay. I think many women feel like we need to “do it all” and take care of those around us, but it’s okay to ask for help, say no to something because you’re stressed, or take a long time to respond to emails and texts. I want to accept the situations I end up in, and realize I’m doing my best. And reaching out to others when I’m having a rough time. It’s hard to admit that we’re not perfect and can’t do it all, but at least by admitting and accepting it, I’m owning it.

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I’ve used this image before, but goodness gracious I love it so much.

How do you handle stress?

Any back-to-school tips and tricks you have?

Caffeine – yay or nay?

Week in Review…Productive Rest & Travel

Hello and Happy Monday! I had all the best intentions of having a post ready for Thursday, but it didn’t happen because I took a last minute trip to visit some friends! It was just so wonderful. Being with dear friends just made my heart so full and happy. Unfortunately, we are all absolutely horrible at getting pictures together. On a happier note, we tend to really enjoy our time together since we’re not on our phones. Can’t have it all I suppose.

Something I’m really happy about with this past week is that I would call it “productive rest.” It sounds kind of like an oxymoron but let me explain. It was that perfect balance of being social and being alone, speaking and being silent. It was a rejuvenating type of week. It makes me realize that I need to include some of the things that I did this past week in every single week. Let’s look at what I did!

On Monday I went with my family to a museum exhibit. It was pretty interesting, and just a really good way to get everyone out of the house.

Tuesday was a productive day for me. Did some reading, went to the dentist, filled the car with gas, and got a great five mile run in on the treadmill. It was a cold, rainy day so treadmill was way better than outside. I also made dinner for my family: roast chicken, green beans, and some leftover potatoes from my family’s New Year’s dinner.

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Wednesday I was up and ready to catch a train to Richmond, to meet my friend who was driving me down to Chapel Hill (to visit our other friend). I got to read a lot on the train, and then had an amazing lunch with Meghan at a place called Kuba Kuba. I got this amazing sandwich with shredded, tender beef, onions, and Swiss cheese. The best part though was the fried plantains that were on the side. Drool.

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Photo does not do this sandwich and plantains justice.

We then embarked on the 3 hour drive down to North Carolina and met up with our friend Jill. We spent the evening talking and catching up and got some dinner. It was so good to spend time with people who make me so happy. I’m sad that the visit couldn’t last longer, but Jill had to go to work.

On Thursday, Meghan and I got a delicious brunch at a place called Carolina Coffee Shop. It was such a cute little place, and the coffee was delicious and endless (the way it should be). I had a sausage and cheese omelette, with fruit and a biscuit.

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We then set back off to Richmond and spent the rest of the day there, hanging out and then meeting up with our friend Emma for dinner, and a dessert place called Shyndigz. Oh my goodness.  A dessert only restaurant. The three of us shared  salted caramel chocolate cake, red velvet cake, and mixed berry cobbler. The cobbler was my personal favorite. It was such a cute and hip little place!

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Look at the cute little mason jars for water!

Friday was a travel day, but Meghan picked up some donuts from a  famous place in Richmond, Sugar Shack! YUM. After taking a train ride back, I just had a relaxed night at home. It started icing and snowing and by Saturday we practically were in blizzard conditions (aka Virginia isn’t so great at handling snow). I did get to church Saturday evening, and my aunt came to visit which was lovely.

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So now, writing this on Sunday, I’m happy to say that I’ve already read two books this week, did some Instagram posting for my sorority, organized myself, and just recharged. We all need weeks like that. I have to say 2017 is off to a good start.

Linking up with Clean Eats Fast Feets for Week in Review!

Best thing you ate all week?

Last place you traveled to?

Feelings on snow?

Running Bucket List

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope you had an enjoyable holiday, ate some yummy things, and got to relax a bit. My New Year’s Eve wasn’t too interesting, but New Year’s Day included a nice 7 mile run and some gorgeous weather, sunny and 45-50 degrees. I’m always amazed by how a great run makes the next 24 hours seem better.

While running, I got to thinking about my running goals for the year/if I even want to have running goals. I’m at an interesting point in my running evolution. I dearly love the sport. But after running a marathon, some of my drive and focus has changed.

You see, for so long, running a marathon was my big goal. All of my smaller goals in some way or another led to the goal of running a marathon. Those half marathons? I saw those as preparation for an eventual marathon. Now that I’ve run a marathon, I kind of start thinking, now what? I’m only 20, I have literally SO MANY years (God-willing) of running ahead of me, and I’m (hopefully) nowhere near hitting my peak.

So, instead of trying to come up with something bigger or better to do, I’m ready to start crafting different types of goals. A running bucket list of sorts! There are constantly races I see that I would like to do, or destinations I’d love to go to. Here’s my working “running bucket list.” It’s not an exhaustive list of things, and there’s not really a time limit on any of it. Though there are parts of it that I would prefer to do in 2017 (because I need something to aspire to, right?), some of these things may take over 10 years or more to complete. And, it’s an ongoing list so there’s never really an end in sight…in the best way possible!

So here it is, my *official* running bucket list!:

  • Race and PR in the 5k (my current time is 23:14)
  • Race a 10k (a distance I’ve never raced!)
  • Run a Rock ‘n’ Roll race (I’m thinking the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh half in April…)
  • Run a Disney race
  • Run a race on a holiday (Turkey Trot perhaps? I’ve never done one!)
  • Run a race while wearing a costume
  • Be a pacer for a race
  • Boston Qualify
  • Do a twilight/nighttime race
  • Run a Ragnar (these seem so cool!)
  • Sign up for running coaching (and figure out how the heck I’m supposed to do cross training…)
  • Become an RRCA certified running coach
  • Run a race with a friend, at their pace
  • Place in my age group
  • Meet a famous runner (Shalane Flanagan would be ideal, but honestly I can name at least 10 others that would be equally amazing)

Well, that’s about all I can think of at the moment, but the beauty of running is that it’s a practice. You can never be “perfect” at it, and there’s always something new and interesting to conquer.

Do you have any running/fitness goals on your bucket list?

Have you ever considered getting any fitness certifications? I would love my running coach certification, and also eventually to become a yoga instructor!

Best Disney movie (I’ve got Disney races on my mind…)?