Self-Care Tips & Links

Hey there and happy Friday! It’s my last Friday of break and it’s bittersweet. I’m excited to head back to school and start a new semester but I’m also sad not to have as much free time to just relax. I love having a schedule and structured days, but I think it’s good to change things up every once in awhile if it means some important relaxation time.

Today, I have self-care on the brain. I first heard the term self-care about 6-8 months ago. I thought at first it was some kinda hippy-feel-good-vibey thing. Silly me to jump to conclusions!

I’ve learned that self-care is actually more about taking care of yourself rather than being burned out all. the. time. It means taking a minute or an hour to pause: to watch Netflix, go on a walk, bake something delicious, journal, pray, etc. In a world where there’s a lot of bragplaining about how busy everyone is, self-care is desperately needed. I think we’re meant for more than mechanically just getting by and always feeling exhausted.

Here are three things I’ve learned about self-care:

It’s not something to feel guilty about. Taking 20 minutes of every day to write in a journal, read a book, or watch an episode of your favorite T.V. show isn’t unproductive. It’s rejuvenating. It’s necessary to prevent yourself from burning out. And sometimes you’ll only need 10 minutes a day to do this, other days you’ll need 3 hours because the day has gone poorly. Either is okay.

You need to figure out what self-care is to you, because it’s probably going to be different for you than your neighbor. For me, I always feel way more centered and peaceful when I take some time to pray, journal, and read God’s Word. I don’t do this every day, but it’s something I at least make an effort to do. I also feel rejuvenated and refreshed when I go on a run, read a good book, or color. For some of my friends, it means doing yoga, or playing an instrument, or watching the Bachelor, or getting a pedicure. Whatever it is, don’t feel ashamed for taking a break from the things you have to do to take a few to care for your soul. Everyone must rest.

Sometimes you don’t have time for even 10 minutes to yourself. But there are small things you can do. For example, let’s say you have a commute that you have to do on top of a crazy busy day that is filled from morning to evening. Use that commute to listen to a favorite playlist of your favorite songs, or an audiobook. Have to rush out the door early and mornings are rough? Buy some good coffee to make for yourself. Small things can make a positive impact on your day.

I’ve found some really great links from around the inter webs that are filled with some great tips and tricks for practicing self-care. Check them out!

DIY Self-Care Box!!! (LOVE this idea)

Reading a good book is self-care!

That’s all for today. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, full of self-care and rest!

How do you practice self-care? 

Read any good books lately?

Favorite snack (I need inspiration!)?

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“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 🙂

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?