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?

“Normal Eating” and WIAW

Well it’s already the second week of 2017, but there are still plenty of articles about ways to lose weight, “cleanse” (still confused about this because the body is by and large pretty good about getting rid of toxins), ways to easily cut out sugar, and get back to normal eating!

Now, I realize that everyone’s bodies are different, some people need to lose weight for various health reasons, etc. However, what even is normal eating? Spoiler alert: it depends. However, this question has me thinking. I looked up the word in the handy dandy Merriam-Webster online dictionary and this is what I found:

“conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern”

And that’s it. So basically normal eating would be eating in such a way that there’s a basic pattern and regularity in your eating habits. For one person, this may mean intuitive eating, for another it may mean a vegan diet (diet used in this case as an eating pattern, not a way to lose weight), and for another, it may mean the diet they follow to avoid an allergen.

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Homemade cinnamon roll, Canadian bacon, clementine (and of course, coffee)

So that’s the basic definition of what “normal eating” is, and clearly it’s individual. And that’s what’s really great about it. A year or two ago, what normal eating was for me wasn’t what normal is for me today. And I’m really thankful for that since now I’m way healthier. What used to be normal for me was a pretty narrow range of “healthy” foods, eaten as specific times and intervals, with lots of exercise thrown in. Thankfully that’s not what’s normal anymore.

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Split pea and lentil soup, crackers, un-pictured wedge of brie cheese

And it’s possible to change your normal. Maybe you’re struggling right now with disordered eating, or you’ve just found out you have an allergy/sensitivity, your work schedule has changed and life is hectic, or you’re training for a specific fitness goal. And you probably SHOULD change what you consider normal in these circumstances. For example, I SHOULD (LIKE REALLY) be eating more when I’m marathon training. When I was starting recovery, I had to change to eating what I thought was a lot of food. Soon it became normal.

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Happy face because of post workout endorphins and Grande Caramel Macchiato

Here’s my inner math/data nerd side coming out for just a sec. Let’s take a look at this curve, that is known as (wait for it), the NORMAL CURVE 🙂

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Now the normal curve basically shows how data is distributed. I’m not going to go into the statistics and math as to how it is derived (even I don’t find that overly thrilling), but I will tell you a little something about this curve.

The center of data is where the 0 is, so the average value is right about there. The two 1s indicate 1 standard deviation from the mean, and the data contained between -1 and 1 is about 68% of all data (standard deviation basically measures how much data vary). The distance between -2 and 2 contains 95% of all the data.

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Roast chicken, green beans, twice baked potatoes

Okay so that’s a bunch of kind of random info. Why am I telling you this? Well because it shows that A LOT of values can fall into a normal range of data. So let’s say the mean number of calories you eat is X. But, 1 or even 2 standard deviations away is also within a normal range of data, even if it is 1.5 times what X is! The point is: it all kind of evens out.

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Homemade Christmas cupcake! Vanilla cake, chocolate icing 🙂

This may seem like a really long ramble, and it probably is. But my point is this: there is a lot of different definitions when it comes to normal eating. Your mean caloric needs could be totally different than your friend or sister’s, or even totally different than your mean caloric needs last year. That’s okay. Every single diet has variation, and even when we indulge during the holidays, or special occasions, or get stomach flus…it all ends up okay.

Thanks for reading through this post, and remember, find your normal, honor your body.

Thanks to JennLaura for hosting the WIAW linkup!

Anyone else out there like math or data?

What do you think normal eating is?

Favorite hot drink? Coffee and hot chocolate are my faves 🙂

25 More Things to Be Thankful About Right Now

A long while back, in one of my first posts on this little blog, I came up with a list of 25 things to be thankful about (check it out here). After a trying day yesterday, I think I need to revisit this topic and think about gratitude again.

Thanks to Amanda for letting us Think Out Loud on this Thursday.

Today I can be thankful for…

Getting lost in a book that you had no idea how much you’d love.

Sipping your coffee slowly in the morning in a cute mug.

Trying a recipe and having it turn out perfectly (peep these cinnamon rolls I made ya’ll).

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Moments where you see how amazing your body is and take an action that honors it (rest days, I’m looking at you!)

Manicures/Pedicures.

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Curling up in a blanket in the middle of the day

When something good happens to someone else and you can be genuinely happy for them.

Weather that’s not hot, not cold, but just right.

Receiving a hug or act of kindness from someone when you most desperately need it.

Wearing cute and fun pajamas.

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Fuzzy socks/slippers to keep your feet warm.

Realizing that your struggles/story can be told and knowing that it somehow helped someone.

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Moving your body in a way that makes it happy (running, yoga, dance…)

Donuts!

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Cute baby videos.

When you receive a compliment for something you’ve done or a quality that you have rather than your appearance.

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Watching a movie that takes you back to when you were younger (cough cough High School Musical…)

Listening to throwback tunes (this song came up when I was listening to Spotify the other day, and wow, what a mid-2000s jam).

Inspirational quotes on Pinterest.

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Moments of silence after a busy day.

Crossing an item off your bucket list.

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Candles (especially ones that smell nice).

Shavasana/Meditating/Time to Pray.

Moments when you almost gave up but persevered instead.

Having a conversation with someone who loves you and knows your heart well.

What do you have gratitude for today?

What’s an item on your bucket list?