Why Is Liz So Stressed Out?

Entering in to my last semester of college, I thought everything would be business as usual, nothing too crazy, that I would just get through my classes for the last time and graduate.

I was wrong. Very wrong.

This semester I decided on four classes: three photo classes and an online business class that would last for the first half of the semester. Sounds pretty simple, but it’s proven to be the ingredients to the busiest, most time consuming group of classes I think I’ve ever taken in all of my college years. Three photo classes is just not as easy and carefree as it sounds, really.

To be fair, it’s not only my classes that are taking up my time, work and social life events are also a factor. This year has been the busiest socially for me, which I’m really alright with, and with my new position at work, I have more hours there and less time at work that I get to work on other things since I don’t just sit at a desk the whole time anymore.

It would probably help my case if I took better care of myself. Somehow I have been sick for most of the semester, and it seems like I haven’t been 100% healthy at any given time. My eating habits aren’t the best (though I am working on that) and I definitely don’t drink enough water to keep my body happy (also working on that.) I don’t get enough sleep, but that isn’t all my fault. Noisy room mates who don’t sleep and have no regard to others who may want to be sleeping tend to keep you awake it would seem.

This weekend coming up will be the third weekend in a row that I’m traveling, and the second one of the three wheee I’ll be doing a big shoot. After the last weekend I did traveling and with big important shoots, I have to admit I wonder if I can handle it again so soon. It may require very high amounts of caffeine, some crying, and a very decent playlist to get me through.

I plan on actively trying to fix some of my issues, working to keep myself organized and healthy. It just feels as if I’m adding more to my plate by trying to fix those issues while trying to keep up with the rest of life.

I shouldn’t complain too much, this is probably pretty close to what life after college will be like, crazy and full of stress, but I can only wish that things are especially crazy right now and I won’t actually have to go through lack of sleep and being overwhelmed so often in life when I’m done with school.

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The Fight Against Fast Food

I went to college at Fordham University in the Bronx. To people who don’t know much about New York, the first thing that happens when I mention this fact is that they say I must be tough since I’m from the BX.

Unbeknownst to them though, Fordham is one of the most preppiest and upper middle class schools in America and even though it’s situated in the Bronx, there’s a fence that keeps anyone out who doesn’t have an ID.

Fordham kids might be tough in their own way but most of us are also very privileged.

It would be unfair to say we didn’t care about issues affecting the Bronx. Over half of my classes and activities centered on volunteering and ending suffering. I never could say I understood the suffering though no matter how hard I tried to.

One such issue that I thought about a lot was the concept of ‘the food desert’. This meant that the accessibility to people in the Bronx to fresh produce and healthy foods were slim to none. It was a concept I could vaguely wrap my head around. Outside of Arthur Ave and Little Italy, it was easy to see that the only options were bodegas unless you wanted to ride the subway system for over 30 mins. That’s not that big of a deal in the car but being someone who enjoyed trekking all the way to Manhattan (an hour subway commute one way) I understood why toting bags back and forth wasn’t ideal.

Especially after working.

It’s funny because I know I’m still very privileged if not more so. I’m living on an officer salary without any dependents and I have little debt (thanks to the Army).

Yet, I eat fast food about four times a week and while I don’t know if I’m officially living in a ‘food desert’ I’m starting to understand how working and giving limited options can affect a person.

If I don’t shop on the weekends, I won’t be shopping that week. I get out of work and the grocery stores are closed. I could go to Walmart but at 7PM after working all day and really hungry, that drive into town isn’t ideal.

fast food

On my way home I pass a McDonald’s, Hardee’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and something called Diego’s Burrito Bar.

I only live eight minutes away from work.

It’s crazy too because I was showing habits of lazily just buying food instead of preparing it in college but underneath my dorm was a restaurant called Cosi which sold things like tomato mozzarella and basil sandwiches and since it was in my dorm, only college students ate there. It was my go to.

Now that my go to is Taco Bell, I’m starting to get really nervous about my eating habits not because of weight gain or anything like that, but just performing physically and staying healthy.

Health Journey : The Beginning

I think part of what makes getting healthy so difficult after living in an unhealthy manner for a while, is that as an adult, you are the person who can make you change your ways. You might have other reasons to be healthy, such as kids, family, people who need you, or things like your job or dreams require you to be healthy, but you are the only person who can force yourself to become the healthier version of yourself. No one will do that for you.

But something I have begun to learn is that having an accountability partner definitely helps with this.

I signed up for the Color Vibe run with a few of my friends, and one of the friends who agreed to do it asked me if I wanted to train with her since we’re both at a beginning level in a sense. I agreed, and it’s become less of just training together and more of planning out getting healthy together.

Though it’s still 100% on me to get my meals prepped, to eat right, to go and exercise, etc., it does make it easier to do so knowing that someone else is counting on me to go through the journey with her.

I’m obviously still having problems with a few things. Quitting soda and coffee has always seemed impossible to me, and having a really rough semester doesn’t help my attempt to quit. I’m also finding myself eating more cheese than I should and suffering the consequences of that. Exercise is something I tend to get into in phases, sometimes I’m really into it, but most of the time, I just want to sleep.

I’m also not sure how I want to measure my goals for getting healthy, which is so important for any journey. Without measurable goals, it can be so easy to be discouraged, and I want to avoid that if possible. Any suggestions?

Until I can figure that out, I guess my ultimate goal is just to feel great about my body. Lately I’ve been in a bit of a rut when looking to love my body, I’m not happy with what I see in the mirror and I’m definitely not happy with the way my body feels. Hopefully this journey will help me to connect better with my body and to appreciate it for what it can do.

I Suck at Sleep

I got a FitBit Charge for Christmas, and I’ve been wearing it every day since. One of the things that it records for you is how much sleep you get every night, and what the quality of sleep you get is.

So for example, here’s my sleep from Monday:screenshot_2016-02-15-23-43-50.png

Do you see that time I was actually asleep? 3 hours and 39 minutes! I’ve looked it up, and this isn’t a good thing. I’m apparently a very restless sleeper, and that definitely explains why I’m so tired all the time… at least I think it does.

So what do I do to fix this? I’ve looked up all of the tips and tricks to getting better sleep and what’s funny is all of the suggestions I’ve found, I do quite the opposite for normally. Quitting caffeine at 4 PM? Well right now it’s 11:45 and I’m still sipping on some green tea, so I’ve failed that one. Keeping away from bright screens an hour before bed? Well, I like to do this thing where I get on my phone just to “check” things quickly, and end up on my phone for another half hour while laying in bed. Keeping a sleep schedule and waking up at the same time every day? Well it doesn’t seem to help much setting an alarm and trying to get up when you didn’t get any real sleep during the night and you feel like your body is pure iron.

If there’s any light in the room I can’t sleep, if there’s too much noise (which with my current room mate who likes to stay up until 4am playing video games, there’s definitely too much noise), I can’t sleep. If I think too much while laying in bed, I could be up for hours, and sometimes even when everything seems to be in perfect condition, my body just decides sleep is overrated.

I suck at sleep. I think I’ve always had issues with sleep, whether it’s been falling asleep, or staying asleep or getting no sleep at all, I just tend to be terrible at getting proper sleep. I think it might be time to see someone professional about it. I’m starting to be a bit of a zombie at school and work.

Or perhaps I can just start taking some of those tips and tricks seriously from now on…

The Other Lent Post

I’ll let you in on a secret, I stole the topic idea for this post from Anne. It seems like I’m writing about Lent first, but really she did, so I won’t take that credit. However, Lent starts today, so I’m writing about it today.

Growing up, my family went to Catholic Church, so Lent is familiar to me. But recently, I’ve been a part of a non-denominational Christian community, one that doesn’t really follow all of the stricter, traditional practices that Catholics go through every year. So Lent has been a little lax as of late.

Going from being Catholic to Non-Denominational is like being a kid away from home for college for the first time. You have to wonder what rules to follow and you get to really address why. Now, to clarify, part of the reason I’m Non-Denominational is that I never really felt all the “traditions” at the Catholic Church seemed right to me. Not right as in correct, but right as in they didn’t fit me and my faith. It’s a complicated concept, but here I am.

But I think Lent is actually one of the practices that the Catholic Church follows that I liked. The idea of sacrificing something for 40 days, just like Jesus had gone without for 40 days while tested after he was baptized, always makes me feel closer to God. It makes the celebration of Easter a bit more special too, which is something that I think needs to be revived in my life.

I had been thinking for a while that I should bring the practice of Lent back into my life, but wasn’t sure what to give up (or pick up) for the 40 days. I did some searching online for ideas, and found one that I really liked that I thought would be challenging for me.

I found buried in a list of other great ideas, one person said that for Lent, they wanted to really focus on treating their body as a temple. This is such a great concept in my mind, because it goes way beyond just wanting to give up sweets or soda (though those are also great!) I liked the concept so much, I’ve decided to pick it up as my 40 day “challenge” if you will.

So what does this mean for me? Well, I’ll be making sure to treat my body much better than I have recently. I’ll be fueling it with healthy food, hydrating it well, taking care of my hair and skin, building up my strength through exercise, staying away from toxic people, avoiding toxic thoughts, keeping up my appearance and doing my best to stay bright. Hopefully by the end of the 40 days, all of this will be habit and my temple will stay strong all year long!