Sunday Funday

Oh my goodness, is there anything nature can’t cure? Sunday funday was absolutely the best.

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We spent half the day on a winter hike with the sun shining on us and spectacular views.

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Finn bounced around, wagging his cute little nub of a tail, and having a blast listening to all the sounds in nature.

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One thing I know I can count on when I’m sad or stressed is the fact that nature makes me feel like me again. It brings me back to a calm, centered, and mindful state. This Sunday wasn’t necessarily a “No Phone Sunday” which we’ve done in the past, but it was a Sunday Funday for sure – only thinking happy good thoughts and staying in the moment instead of focusing on work, school, and everything else.

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It’s the last few weeks before my first race of the year. As you may know my training has been all over the place with the winter weather and long work days, but I’m going into it to have fun and get back into my groove with racing. I’m officially signed up for 2 other races after this, but that will likely turn to 3..maybe 4 or 5… You know how it goes if you’re a runner! Here’s the training plan for this week!

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Now that Spring is officially here and it’s lighter in the evenings, it feels a little easier to have running goals in mind. Sunshine is a magical thing, is it not?

 

 

Stress Relief at Work

Let’s face it… Work can be stressful and being an adult can also be stressful. I’m prone to feeling physical and emotional symptoms of stress when my schedule is overbooked. So I take steps to prevent stress whenever I can throughout my day. This often starts the night before. Any night I’ve packed my breakfast/lunch/snacks for work and packed my running clothes/set out my work clothes, my morning feels like it goes smoothly. I even prep Finn pup’s snacks and treats for the day and put his peanut butter Kong’s in the freezer.

This means in the morning, if I get up at 4:30, I can do a little schoolwork, walk and take care of Finn, make coffee, and then get ready to go. If I have to add in prepping meals and snacks for the entire day, I’m already stressed before I head out the door.

My commute is another source of stress. I check the weather always and make sure I know the road conditions, I put podcasts and upbeat music on my phone to help me get through the long drives, and I use the time to try to relax (easier said than done, but I’m working on it).

At work, there’s a lot you can do to reduce stress. Some great things I’ve discovered are:

1.) Write out to-do lists: I’m a big fan of handwritten lists that I can cross things off. Though some people use their computers or phones, I still enjoy physically checking things off a to-do list. Plus, writing things out helps me stay focused and organized throughout the day when there’s 500 things going on.

2.) Take your breaks: I am so bad about this one. I just don’t take the breaks that I should. Many days I find myself in a meeting, health coaching, or something comes up and then suddenly it’s 3pm. Getting away from your desk makes a world of difference. Bonus points if you walk in nature and get some fresh air. Or go get yourself a nice cup of coffee or tea from that coffee shop you’ve been meaning to try. Treat yourself!

3.) Take deep breaths. If you can’t get away from your desk and you can feel the tension from your head all the way down your shoulders. Close your eyes and take deep breaths for a minute. Really focus on breathing and letting go of the tension.

4.) Aromatherapy. I keep a stress relief stick at my desk. I don’t know that it does all that much, but the scent is very soothing and relaxing to me and because the scent is so comforting, I calm down instantly.

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5.) Stay Hydrated. Dehydration can make it difficult to concentrate and be productive. It can also give you physical and emotional symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and irritability. Keep a water bottle by your side throughout the day. If you’re bored with plain water, add fruit to it!

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6.) Add personal touches to your desk or office. I work at a cubicle so I don’t have much space. That being said, I have a plant that doesn’t need much care (since I travel a lot for my job), photos of my wonderful partner and our rescue pup, art from Haiti, and some art work my students in Japan made me. Just looking at the photos of my adventure family instantly makes me smile.

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Next time you’re feeling stressed, try out some of these tips and see if they help you. Happy Wednesday folks!

Just Do the Best You Can

I had every intention of getting up at 4 am to run, strength train, and do some yoga before work yesterday. I even got myself to bed before 9 pm. Then life happened. Our rescue pup decided he didn’t want to sleep through the night or sleep in his crate and he let it be known. So when that 4 am alarm went off, it was mostly definitely shut off. Let’s just say I got to work without those happy running endorphins and looking almost as lost and confused as Finn does during the 5 am hour.

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Mornings are rough.

 

The point of this story is that life happens and sometimes plans needs to change. If I got upset over every time my schedule didn’t play out according to plan, that would be crazy because it happens several times a week. Instead, I just get creative with it and do the best I can.

Did strength training and yoga happen today? Absolutely not. Did I throw my running gear in my bag and do speed work during lunch? Yes. So I’m going to call that a win.

Some days yoga and strength training happen in 5-10 minute increments. Some days I sleep 5 hours instead of 7 or 8 and skip morning workouts.Some days my running clothes are the most ridiculously mismatched colors because I put the outfit together at 4 am (Green, teal, neon running shoes, and purple polka dot socks totally go together, right?). Some days I get so busy at work trying to help others that I forget to hydrate, eat, and take care of myself. I accept those moments, try to figure out a solution to the situation, and alter my plan accordingly.

 

If you’re not a professional athlete who can dedicate their life to training, then don’t beat yourself up that you can’t pull out the same mileage or fitness routine as them. Do the best you can.

Happy Wednesday!

No Phone. Just Breathe.

Last weekend, we took off for a snowy beautiful winter hike with the pup. As photographers we were pretty excited to immerse ourselves in the beautiful Vermont winter and as dog owners we were excited to let the pup run off a ton of energy.

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It was pretty special for us, because we decided to not be attached to our phones during this hike. It was a few hours of nothing, but the beautiful sounds in nature. You could hear the snow crunching beneath our boots and the wind blowing through the trees. I was able to breathe in the crisp mountain air. There were no sounds of traffic. My to-do list was long forgotten at home. I had this beautiful opportunity to just feel connected to nature, enjoy time with my wonderful partner, and watch our rescue pup turn into the most playful silly dog in the snow.

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I got back home and it had me thinking… Why not turn off my phone for part of a day every week and purposely cut myself off from the hustle and bustle of life to truly be present in the moment? The more I thought about it the more I liked that idea so I’ve made a rule in my life where there will be at least part of a day every weekend where I don’t feel attached to technology. This time is me time and I get to disconnect from the stress of work, to-do lists, being an adult, responsibilities, etc. I just get to focus on things that are relaxing and that I want to do.

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I highly recommend you try disconnecting for awhile. Take the time to recenter, refocus, relieve tension and stress, and just take the time for you! It’s so so SO important.

Happy Wednesday folks!

 

How to Stay Sane with a Busy Schedule

Honestly, I don’t know that I accomplish this well every week. I do know that many people are in the same boat. So many of my wellness coaching clients come to me wanting to solve this issue in their own lives. If you can’t cut things out of your life, then what can you do to keep yourself from going bonkers when your schedule is booked solid from morning until night?

To give you an idea (and yes, I realize my schedule is clearly overbooked and I’m just putting the commuting, walking the pup, etc in there to give you an idea of my actual spare time), this is my schedule. I don’t have the meal preparation, cleaning, errands, extra Finn walks, etc in there, but that also happens during the week.

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Things you can do:

1.) Schedule You Time. I have little 15 minutes blocks scheduled that alert me on my phone to take a break. Yes, I have been known to ignore them in the past, but I don’t do that anymore after re-evaluating my stress level lately. Schedule 15 minutes here and there and then a longer break on days where you can find the time.

2.) Keep Up a Fitness Routine. Because I’m training, running can go from feeling like stress relief to another thing on the to-do list. I make sure to remind myself that this is also “me time”, socializing time, de-stress time, AND it’s certainly NOT a waste of time.

3.) Plan Ahead. I go as far as setting my work clothes and running clothes out for the week so I don’t even have to think about it in the morning. I throw my running clothes and shoes in a bag, put on my work clothes, and grab my prepacked work bag. These small steps make my life noticeably easier in the mornings.

4.) Meal Plan/Prep. I get made fun of for this sometimes, but if I don’t plan my meals and prep them ahead, my work week is that much more stressful. By meal prep/plan, I mean I have my snacks, breakfasts, lunches, and as much as I can prep dinner in advance. If I don’t do this, that means I’m sometimes skipping meals (can you say HANGRY?) and not able to get through my runs or work day well. Trust me, just jump on this band wagon if you’re busy. The couple hours over the weekend doing this is so worth it.

5.) Take a Mental Health Day. Seriously, if you can do this. It can do wonders and I’m guilty of rarely ever doing this, but it’s very important to take some time for you. When your feeling physical symptoms of stress on a daily basis, that’s a sure sign you need a break.

6.) Cut Unnecessary Items. Do you really need to do all the things you have listed? Can you delegate and take some of it off your plate? For example, this past weekend, my wonderful partner offered to go to the grocery store and clean up the kitchen so I could focus on my mountains of work.

7.) Re-evaluate. If life is continuously too overwhelming, it’s time to re-evaluate. If that commute time is too long, then speak with your job about a more flexible schedule and/or considering either moving closer to work or finding a job closer to home. Really take a close look at your schedule, think about the reasons why you’re feeling very stressed and overwhelm, then go from there.

Happy Friday everyone! Enjoy the weekend!

Practicing Gratitude

I used to be great about writing in a journal when I lived overseas. I wanted to document my experiences and have these great stories to remember for a long time. After I got back to the States, I didn’t keep up with the daily habit. Lately I’ve been wanting to journal again and more specifically write down what I’m grateful for every day.

Practicing gratitude can be such a helpful way to relieve stress and appreciate what you have around you (which unfortunately many of us can lose sight of during our busy days).

This week hasn’t been pretty. Like many weeks my schedule has been booked solid from 5am until I go to bed. The stress from that, work, commuting, school, training, and recovering from an ill-timed cold got the best of me. Last night I was stressed beyond belief crying about how I’m coaching people in life balance and not practicing it in my own life and my partner made me point out things I’m grateful for. He kept making me point out things until slowly I started feeling better.

Though I’ve encouraged practicing gratitude with my own wellness coaching clients, I haven’t been practicing it as much as I should in my own life. I’ll be the first to admit, wellness coaches may know exactly what to do for a better life balance, but we also have trouble following through with it every week (we are human after all)! So this week, I’ll be starting a gratitude journal. Additionally, I’ll be trying to incorporate little moments throughout my day to do a quick relaxing yoga session, walk in the fresh air, and definitely schedule some much needed me time before I go absolutely crazy!

In case you’re wondering, today I’m thankful for:

1.) A loving, supportive, encouraging, sweet, inspiring, and all around amazing partner.

2.) A cuddly, sleepy, and often adorably grumpy puppy that loves to love and only wants to be loved.

3.) The weekend – even though it’s busy, there will be pockets of time to practice self-care, run, spend time with the pup and my lovely partner, and sleep a full 8 hours each night.

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