Category Archives: stress

Whirlwind Life

Life has been a crazy, hectic, mess of wonderfulness lately. What’s been happening?

Last time I posted I was on the fence about starting Weight Watchers again. Well, I did. I lost 19.7 pounds in the first 3 weeks. Yeah…but while that’s awesome. I’m not getting too terribly excited because 1. it was much of what I’d gained back and 2. I know I can’t keep that amount of weight loss up for the long haul. So YAY for losing but keep the expectations lower on how much I’ll lose consistently. I’m also aware that it may fluctuate a lot over the next few weeks because I’m moving soon and it’s a little stressful.

I went on vacation with the fella and his family. We went to Orlando for 5 days and enjoyed pool time with sunshine and warm temps, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, a gangster inspired dinner theater, La Nouba (a Cirque Du Soleil show), laughter, and a lot of delicious vacation food. Fish and chips, amazing steak, fish. And….I was introduced to jaffa tarts.

From the Rose and Crown Pub in Epcot

From the Rose and Crown Pub in Epcot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seriously, these things are delicious. Orange flavored cake/cream covered in chocolate. I loved them so much that when I saw them on the menu at the Irish pub the next night, I had them again. Kinda ridiculous but I don’t care. They were amazing.

And now we’re back and in the thick of packing so we can move in 2 weeks. Well, less than 2 weeks. I’m slowly freaking out and then K is calming down the crazy until I freak out again. I have so much stuff. It’s major purge time. I’m getting rid of So. Much. Stuff. I’m definitely one of those people who gets anxious about moving/traveling and while I love it, I get really antsy and uncomfortable right before it happens and I just want it over. I don’t mind flying or the airport process per se, but the night before I fly, I’m just thinking, “Ok, I’d like to be on the other side of this now and skip the flying.” I’m not afraid of it, I just get anxious about the process I guess. I’m the same way with moving. But because moving is much larger than flying across country, I’m at the stage 2 weeks prior of just wanting to be moved in and beginning to unpack.

On top of all of these “big” events there’s a lot on the social calendar. K had a birthday this month, a close friend of our’s had a birthday this month that we’re eager to celebrate, we’ve had family events, and we’re expecting my family to come visit shortly after we move. Like I said, it’s been a crazy, hectic, mess of wonderfulness lately.

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Monday Thoughts

I woke up early this morning to get to the gym for a 5:30a Spin class. Monday mornings are so much harder than Friday mornings even though I go to bed about the same time. But I was up and at ’em in the dark and the cold. Tonight I’ll head back to the gym for PT and Zumba. This morning as I was getting ready for work I started thinking about my office’s upcoming move to Rockville. If you don’t know, that move is going to increase my commute from 15 minutes (with no traffic) to about 40 minutes (with no traffic). That’s not too bad in the mornings but the afternoons? There’s always traffic. So it’ll likely be a hour to get home. Fortunately, my guy lives 5 minutes from my new office. And actually, I could probably walk to it in 10 minutes. But…my gym and my trainer are staying put. So…I’ve got to start making some schedule changes. Currently, I’m at the gym 2 mornings a week between 5:30a to 6:30 or 7a and 3 nights a week with my times ranging from 5:30p to 8:15p (not that whole time every night). So…if I’m going to be working 40 minutes or more from my gym, I need to change something. I believe I’m changing my work hours a bit but not every day. I think the one thing I’ve decided is that my Zumba class is going to have to go. I love Spin more than Zumba and I get a better workout. Plus, if I’m going to be meeting my trainer at 5:30p on Tuesdays still, I’m going to have to leave work earlier on Tuesdays, which means an earlier start, which means I don’t want to be at the gym until 7p and have no evening time before bed. I haven’t figured the rest of my week out yet but I’m going to try to do that this week and come to terms with the fact that my cozy little HoCo life is changing. See…in 6 months, I’m moving out of my current apartment and more than likely, I’m moving out of HoCo, which means I’m going to be leaving my gym and my trainer. I think I’lll stick with both as long as I can because well…I have a half marathon in six months and I’m going to need that for training. So…a lot is tumbling around in my brain this morning but it’ll all work itself out…I just gotta keep my eye on all the good the future will bring me.

fall apart

It’s my birthday month!

Welcome to August 1, the start of my birthday month! My birthday is August 7 so I say it starts August 1 and I feel like that’s close enough. But I like to drag it out, too, because, um…hello, I’m worth more than a day anyway.

I woke up happy, despite the rain, this morning. But it wasn’t long after being at work that my little workgroup got some unfortunate news and it sent me spiraling into despair and feeling the stress that has been work for a couple of weeks now. All I want to do is cry. And hug my fella. I totally failed at lunch with eating as in, I didn’t go get food and snacked out of my drawer (BAD IDEA). But I’m trying to buck up because I have to since I’m a professional and all and I have to interact and lead a meeting later this afternoon. I’m looking forward to a workout this evening and I’m so happy that my fella has agreed to come see me tonight so I can hug him. And I’ll eat something healthy tonight instead of letting my pity party continue. So August 2 should start better. I’ll wake up next to my favorite person, I’ll go to spin, I will have a fantastic training session, and I WILL have a good day at work tomorrow. Then it’ll be time to weekend party. Ain’t no party like a low-key weekend party!

I let a tire beat me

It’s been a pretty stressful week. Put that on top of raging hormones and I’m just about beat. This morning after Spin I had a training session. I was excited to finally get outside and do tire flips. My trainer set up a circuit of plank holds, curb jumps, squats, and tire flips. Except she wanted the curb jumps to turn into jumping in and out of the tire after a flip. I tried, y’all. But I could never make myself do it! She let me assess it. She gave me time and she never forced me. She had me jump a million ways to show me I could do it. But every time I faced that tire my mind beat me. I couldn’t do it. Fear. It’s a horrible thing for a workout. I left the gym feeling frustrated with myself but I still wouldn’t give it one last try. I don’t think even if you put that tire in front of me now I’d attempt it. My mind has taken over. I called Kev on the way home. And I let it go and by that I mean I sobbed. All the way home. Almost the entire time I showered and got ready for work.

My trainer says we’ll try it again on Tuesday, weather permitting. I want to beat it. I do. But I don’t know. I’m not good with jumps. You can tell me I can clear it and maybe I can but I can’t make myself believe it. Box jumps scare the hell out of me. Basically put me in a situation where I can trip over what I’m supposed to jump and I can’t do it. I mean, I could, but my mind wins. Every. Time.

So this week beat me down hard. Despite Kev’s best efforts to beat the week back.

These beauties came with chocolate and a note.

These beauties came with chocolate and a note.

These beautiful flowers worked on cheering me up. I looked at them this morning and smiled because not only are they gorgeous but they mean I’m loved. So I’m going to try to focus on that and not that damn tire.

A little hiatus does a body good

Well, long time no blog. I took a break. I thought I would take a break indefinitely. But I realized this blog does help me stay accountable. Somewhat anyway. But I’d lost track of what this blog was about. I’d fallen prey to only doing link-ups or motivational quotes. It didn’t really tell my story anymore. I mean, I guess it did to an extent, but not the real me. It was the me I wanted other people to see. Not the me I’m actually living.

So who am I right now? I’m happy but I have my moments of real struggle. I’m extremely happy in so many parts of my life so let’s start with those.

  • I have a great guy. One who is supportive of me no matter where I am. One who tells me I’m beautiful every day and he means it. And I believe him (even on the days I don’t really feel it).
  • I have great friends. My friends have had to be family since I don’t live near my own family. They support me. They cheer me on. They sit down on the curb next to me when I don’t want to keep moving forward in my journey but then they help me back up when it’s time to move.
  • I have a wonderful family. I’m fortunate enough to have a family that doesn’t fight. Sure, we annoy each other and have our moments but I’ve never really fought with anyone in my family. While they don’t live near me, they’re always just a phone call away.

So what’s missing? My health and fitness of course! Don’t get me wrong. I’m pretty healthy all things considered. I’m pretty darn fit, particularly for someone at my weight. I have a deep commitment to working out. I wish I could say that transferred over to how well I eat. It doesn’t. I battle it. Daily. You know this if you’ve followed me for a while. But I take it one day at a time. Sometimes I fall off for weeks. But I always pick myself back up. And when I look back where I fell off, I’m always surprised to see it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. Sure, it wasn’t good but it sure could have been better. To me that says I have a better hold on my discipline than I give myself credit for. I need to embrace that discipline. Because knowing I have it and can do it, helps me keep doing it. It takes a lot of work but I can do it. I just have to go through that miserable stage of starting. But this time I’m not looking at it like a miserable stage because this time I’m remembering all the other wonderful parts of my life. Not only do those parts support me, but they’re worth being healthier for. I want to be around my guy, my family, and friends for a long time.

So here I go again. I’m getting back to what this blog is meant to do. Follow the journey of improving my health and how I see myself while I balance out my love for baking (and eating food in general). I’m not going to say I won’t do link-ups or motivational quotes/words from time to time but I’m not keeping them as a “must have” because that weighed me down (no pun intended) and stressed me out. And this is my blog that I don’t get paid for so it certainly shouldn’t be adding to my stress. So no set numbers of post per week and no set post themes. I’m posting about what I need/feel like posting as the moment strikes.

Stressed Out

I’d planned to try a new workout this week but I had a week at work (more than one 16 hour day) and didn’t have time to go much of anything. I was offline other than work related stuff for 2 days. So I thought it was more appropriate to talk about stress and health.

I’ve had a long week. I was at work by 6am every morning and by 5am a couple of mornings. Those 5am mornings I worked til 10pm at the office one night and until 9pm at the office and then home that same night to work from my couch until 1am. I got 3-5 hours of sleep each night. By the middle of the week I could literally feel and hear my body buzzing from stress, adrenaline, exhaustion. Even though I was tired, my adrenaline and desire to bring this major milestone in this project to an end was strong. I needed it to end today (as planned). So I put in ridiculous hours. Fortunately, I wasn’t alone because my coworkers are amazing. But I learned some things about how my body handles stress.

1. My body buzzes (see above).

2. I drink too much coffee and not enough water. However, I do recognize that sometimes a good cold glass of water is more energizing than a cup of coffee. See this article for signs of dehydration. I had almost all of these symptoms.

3. I can paste on a smile and get the job done when the going gets tough. But I get so tired that I can’t control my emotions at times. For instance, I got so overwhelmed at one point I could do nothing but cry. I couldn’t stop. On the other hand, one of my friends got me laughing and then I couldn’t stop.

4. I will cry “uncle” when I need to. This one was a big one for me. I have a perfectionist personality type and I’m extremely hard on myself and set my expectations high. But when I get to a point that I say I can’t do it and I’m not just talking to a close friend, I mean I can’t do it. I’ve reached my limit. But more important is the fact that I can say it.

5. I tend to eat crap when I’m stressed…if I eat. I tend to eat breakfast and work through lunch and then skip dinner after gorging myself on snack foods all afternoon. One day I ate a lot of Starburst pink and red jelly beans and cashews for lunch. Last night my roommate bought me McDonald’s. Today? My co-worker bought me a chopped chicken cobb salad from Panera. That was the most nutritious and delicious thing I ate all week. But man that salad was delicious.

How have you handled the stressful times in your life?

 

Chips are down

Lately I’ve had a lot of things going on in my life that aren’t “normal” for me. Not only does my personal life feel turned upside down by trying to mend a broken heart but my professional life is a little chaotic. This summer I have traveled a lot for work and I’m still not done! Plus, this is our busy time of year at work and it leaves me a little crazy at the end of most days.

While most days I handle all of this in stride and with my head held high, I know I’ve been walking around without that pep in my step for a while now. My life doesn’t feel put together and I feel extremely uncomfortable and distressed by that. It’s not a good place to be. I know we can’t expect everything to be perfect but when you feel upside down personally and professionally, well, you just want something to make sense in life.

Only a few things make sense to me lately and those are:

  1. Working out – I not only feel strong physically when I work out but I feel stronger mentally. I have the opportunity to dump the worries of the day and empty out my mind. I can focus on my muscles, my heart rate, and other people’s day if I’m in a more social mood.
  2. Baking – Baking is a mindless activity for me. Either I just simply follow a recipe or I can experiment and focus on the outcome as I play around with flavors and look.
  3. Pinterest – I’m more than mildly obsessed with this site as you can tell. But seriously, Pinterest is where I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration for the first two things. I’m finding either workouts or exercises to add to already developed/structured workouts and I’m getting a ton of ideas for baking (and cooking). It also lets me daydream about beach and pool weather, my dream house, my dream wardrobe, and my favorite season.

Fortunately, I also have the most amazing family and friends. So even when working out, baking, and Pinterest don’t work..I can always lean on my family and my friends to help pick me up…or at least lay down on the ground with me and wait until I’m ready to get up.

Bad Work Habits

I was reading the giant September issue of Glamour the other night and there was a short article on work habits that can impact your health. Most of them I’m guilty of but two really stuck out at me: eating lunch at my desk and sitting all day.

Eating at my desk can be an easy thing to do, especially when I’m working against a deadline. The article brings up the point that those who eat lunch while working at their desk tend to eat over 100 calories more later in the day than those who do not because more often than not, those eating at their desk aren’t paying attention to their food. That’s something that rings through to other places where you’re not focusing on your food. Think of the times you snack in front of the tv. I know when I do that, unless I sit down with a predetermined amount, I snack through half the bag before I know it. If I think back on the last few times I’ve eaten at my desk, I do think I’ve snacked a lot more in the afternoon. Part of it wanting to think about eating something (because I ignored my lunch) and part of it is I’m ready for the break and eating seems like the thing to do. That means either going on a hallway walk searching for chocolate or off to Starbucks for a more calorie heavy coffee break than I would do on a normal weekday.

The other thing I notice I tend to do is sitting at my desk all day or at least for hours on end. Some days I’m so slammed with meetings I’m hardly at my desk long enough to check email. Sometimes those days go on for a weeks. So the times I can sit in my office with no meetings, I do just that. I sit at my desk for hours with very few breaks and when I do break, it’s to take a quick walk down the hall for more water then back at it. I notice on these days that my hips hurt when I get up. I know it’s bad for me the minute I do it. While I try my best to get up and go talk to people (instead of emailing or calling them) and I try to take 10-15 minute walks around the building or take a break to walk the stairs, I don’t do it often enough. I let work get in the way of my health all too often.

Other bad work habits that are impacting my health?

  • Checking emails after hours (all the time). Checking emails before I leave for the office or once I’m home for the night once or twice keeps my brain in somewhat of a constant state of work mode. That’s not good for my stress levels.
  • Responding to emails almost immediately when I’m at my desk – I think this is bad because it increases my stress whenever I’m interrupting my work. It’s my own fault and I try to let it go, but sometimes it’s hard. People expect you to read emails as soon as they send them. They call right after they send them asking if I saw it. Really? If it’s that important, they should be calling, then emailing but that’s not how most function. At any rate, it’s not good.
  • Not saying no. Always telling people I can take care of it doesn’t help my workload and that’s how I end up checking emails all the time and working more than 40 hours a week.
  • Not delegating. It was a long hard battle for me to learn to delegate. I still struggle a little. I’m a control freak and extremely anal about how I want things. If I have a vision, I want it executed perfectly. If it’s not, then I’m really hard on myself. When I delegate a task and someone doesn’t do it right, I have to fight myself to teach them the correct way and not just take it back and do it myself.

A lot of these stress-inducing habits of mine lead to physical signs of stress such as an eye twitch (in my right eye), watery eye (in my left eye), chapped lips, and a extremely localized pain point in my back. All of these things have shown up at one time or another in my career and sometimes they’ve all shown up at the same time. That’s when I call UNCLE! But I’m also very aware they’re work stress related because they seem to disappear on the weekends and often come back without fail on Monday mornings when things are stressful at work.

Do you have bad work habits? How do you overcome them?