“Discipline equals freedom.”

pray.

I first saw the above phrase on my new friend @rebecca.rouse ‘s instagram. The idea is that choosing to do what is good, even if it is dang hard in the moment, will ultimately make you free to be the best version of yourself and to be able to serve others well (or at least, that’s my interpretation of the phrase). It can be applied to fitness (Rebecca is an absolute B E A S T) of course, but I’ve actually been praying with the phrase a lot, as I think it can apply to all areas of life — physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Recently, the decision to be more disciplined in several different areas in my life has been brewing in my heart.

  1. Less time on social media. I started this year with a 15 minute time limit on Facebook + Instagram but quickly realized that I kept plowing through that time limit and pressing “ignore time limit for 15 more minutes.” But even a 1 hour time limit went by pretty quickly once I gave myself more leniency… It’s not that social media has been toxic for me (as it may have been in the past), but I still feel attached to it. I thoroughly enjoy sharing my moves and grooves on there, but I felt myself caring a bit too much about the whole shebang. I also found myself browsing through mindlessly at night to drown out my stress from my work day, which is not entirely how I want to fill myself up at the end of the day. Now, I do love that I got to meet my new Kettlebell Gains family through Instagram, and I am very grateful for them. But at this time, I think I will focus my attention on other avenues through which I can connect with loved ones and truly restore myself when I need a break from stress.
  2. More time in silence. I’ve talked about silence on here many a time, and for good reason. Silence is something so uncomfortable but necessary in order to actually be with God and also to confront the messes that are inside of me. For only then can those messes be cleaned up and transformed into new, productive, and fruitful things as I move into the next day. No built up junk in the heart, please!
  3. Morning prayer. UGHHH getting up 20 minutes earlier to pray is so good but also so hard for a night owl like me. But I gotta do it. Praying is my life source.
  4. Awareness of emotions + eating, especially at night. Ooooof stress eating is real. Even if my emotional eating is not severe by any means, I still catch myself snacking quite mindlessly and then being aware that I am stressed and chomping on extra crackers because of it… Again, I am grateful that I can be aware of this and stop at a reasonable point, but it’s something to work on. Working on this couples well with the silence piece ^^^

Hopefully this will all make more space for meaningful conversations, learning, blogging, writing letters, and tbh cleaning the floors and ironing my work shirts.

eat.

I made these pumpkin cookies with brown butter frosting last night for an All Saints’ Day celebratory dessert (also #fall), and they were fantastic. Mine turned out not nearly as pretty as Jess’ cookies because I don’t have an ice cream scooper to make them all uniform.

My friend said my unfrosted cookies looked like fried chicken and he is 100% accurate LOL. And then my brown butter frosting just looked like mashed potato schmeared on the fried chicken.

BUT THEY TASTED GREAT.

move.

I get < 10,000 steps per day during the work week because a) there is limited time to go on longer walks because of work; b) it’s cold and dark for most of the time when I can go on walks; c) I choose to not devote my energies just to hit that step count these days. I miss the days when I could easily get 15K+ every day in Boston, but ’tis the season of life. I am uber grateful that I get to be on my feet and moving all day at work though, so that is a blessing.

Otherwise, workouts have been short, sweet (or not), and as efficient as possible. Despite that, I feel stronger than ever, mostly thanks to the kettlebell crew! Up until yesterday, I have been posting my workouts on my Instagram stories (which are now on my highlights!), so you can see what’s been going down on there. I’m also up to 7 consecutive wide grip pull-ups now! Goal is 10 by the end of 2020.

groove.

It was so heartwarming to see all the ways my neighbors made halloween happen for the kiddos in a COVID-safe way. Many people put out individual baggies of candy on a table outside, but I also saw one neighbor stick candies on their garage door with masking tape so people could just pull the candy right off.

Creativity amidst the challenges.

For my PT clinic’s team costume, we dressed up as the Cobra Kai cast. I wore a blonde wig because I somehow chose to be Johnny from the show/movie… People loved it but also couldn’t recognize me. It’s the most I’ve ever committed to a Halloween costume.

Thanks for stopping by, as always! Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead. Happy All Souls’ Day, and happy nOvEmBeR whaaaaat!?

So tell me:

Do you like the phrase, “Discipline equals freedom”? Why or why not?

Have you made any pumpkin things yet this fall?

Did your neighborhood participate in any halloween festivities?

Calling out the negative coping mechanisms for my stress without judgement.

pray.

…I would say that I should probably do more of this. Or at least do more silent, intentional prayer. I am definitely praying all throughout the day for my patients and for continual strength from God to do what I need to do, but to be with the Beloved in a quiet space is a rare occasion these days, and I know that it is in my control to change that.

What I think I really need to clean up is my night routine. The hardest thing these days is coming home exhausted and wanting to “turn my brain off,” so I turn to social media or talking to friends or watching an assortment of Youtube videos (other people eating or working out or talking about God usually). I KNOW THIS IS NOT THE ANSWER. But I’ve been doing it anyway in an attempt to fill myself.

Guess what. It’s not working super well.

My face is broken out in acne; my cortisol levels shoot me up at around 7am even if I want to sleep in; my workouts feel really difficult; I sometimes find myself stress eating. None of this is first-time experience, and I know that the sources are a) stress from work; b) lack of quality time with God. One of these can be changed, for sure, if I really want it. And I do.

I am grateful that, at this point in my life, I can call out these negative coping mechanisms of mine without being hard on myself. I am also grateful for these seasons of stress and adjustment that remind me of my weakness and the need to rely on God c o m p l e t e l y.

Something that helps me with bouncing back from negative coping mechanisms is to “just say yes to the next good thing.” Whether that’s putting down the phone at 9:00pm, taking out the trash the night before instead of almost forgetting in the morning, turning off the TV Youtube while I’m eating dinner, etc. Say yes to ONE next good thing. Just one.

eat.

The best thing I ate last week was chicken saag with garlic naan and basmati rice from a local Indian restaurant. My brother picked it up for us + his girlfriend on Thursday night, and we had a lovely socially distanced dinner in the backyard. It made for two delicious meals, which is the best 🙂

move.

I’ve still been loving the outdoor KB workouts on Sundays hosted by @kettlebellgains_apparel. I didn’t go this weekend because I needed a bit of rest (aka napped too long and was a sort of too late lol) and wanted to catch up with family over video chat, but most Sundays I try to make it down there for awesome community and HEAVY kettlebell work!

Otherwise, my workouts have been mostly strength/mobility-based and pretty low key. I’ve been telling my patients, “I work out so I can do this [physical therapy]!” And I mean it.

groove.

On Friday night, I got home late so I ran up and down the stairs blasting uplifting praise and worship to sing, dance, and work up a sweat ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ whatever works.

On Saturday, I met up with my apartment-mate from last year, Yuka! She loooooves NYC, so I gave her a little tour of some of my favorite spots, some new-to-me spots, and some of her requested spots. It was a day of 29K+ steps, lots of carbs, and good friend time! Masked and outdoors only, of course.

It was fun writing a good old blog post again. This always helps to ground me. Thank you, as always, for reading along on this 7+ year journey.

So tell me:

Do you find yourself using “negative” coping mechanisms at times? How do you try to bring yourself out of those?

What are some things that ground you during stressful/challenging times?

Do you like Indian food? Fave dish? What is the best thing you did this weekend?

A Week in the Life of a Physical Therapist Vlog!

It’s been a long while since I have updated you guys on anything here, but I’ve been working hard [at work, of course, but also] on this vlog to give a peek into what my life as a full-time physical therapist looks like!

I obviously can’t really film any of my actual work as a PT (#HIPAA), but a lot of the video is my life surrounding my work hours and my feelings before/after work each day.

This is probably my most finessed vlog yet, so I’m excited to share it with you guys! Enjoy 🙂

Here is the link if the embedded video is not working.

Have an awesome week ahead, friends!

So tell me:

What are some of your routine things you do before and/or after work?

Do you ever get a little nervous heading into work?

What are some of your outside-of-work recreational/volunteer activities?

Competence and Confidence

pray.

WOWEEEEEEE. What a week it has been! I finished my first three days of work as a physical therapist last week, and it was a TRIP.

I’m working at approximately 50% of a full caseload since they’re easing me into it, but the combination of new setting + learning the electronic medical record + remembering everything from my last three years of education + communicating with patients as they need… all after just putzing around for nearly 6 months of quarantine season… *internally combusts*

It has been a challenge to say the least. It’s objectively not anything crazy, but subjectively, I whispered under my breath every hour on my first day of work: “I’m dying.”

It’s really f i n e. Of course there is a learning curve, so I am trying to be gentle with myself. I was (and am) stressed though, and I acknowledge that. But this phase, too, shall pass.

Needless to say, a lot of my prayer has been focusing on the grace to do the very best for my patients and to sharpen my competence for them. However, I have also been praying for the ability to truly separate my anxieties and insecurities at work from a) my identity; b) my internal peace.

Let me know if there is any way I can pray for you as well! It is consoling to offer up the stresses of the day for others.

eat.

I made these apple muffins Saturday night, and they are excellent smothered in peanut butter + a glass o’ milk. But I’m sure you knew I was going to say that 🙂

my friend: “it looks like the golgi apparatus”

It doesn’t look pretty, but it’s tasty! I made homemade applesauce just for it (also because I bought apples in bulk and overestimated my ability to eat them all in a timely manner).

move.

I joined one of the COOLEST outdoor workout groups ever yesterday. It’s essentially a group of kettlebell lovers/beasts/experts led by Alex @kettlebellgains for a warmup, workout, and some straight up PR-hitting. I am NOT a kettlebell expert by any means, but after 6 months with just Ketllbellarmine (what I call my 35# KB) as my heaviest weight, I’ve become fond of utilizing it in different ways to build strength, endurance, balance, and coordination.

I found a few awesome people on Instagram who all went to this “Sunday Swings” session, so I asked if someone unexperienced like me could come, and they welcomed me with open arms! I felt so out of my league showing up there (after stalking some of the people who show up to this thing #musclesonmusclesonmuscles), but they were so supportive and fun, and I felt stronger and more confident than ever in that space.

Something in me knew that going to this workout group and doing my very best, despite feeling out of my league, would help with my confidence. And it did! I deadlifted a 220# KB for 4-5 reps x3, which I did not think I would be able to do. I also snatched 44# for a few reps, which was exciting.

I have NOT been feeling confident starting work as a physical therapist, and those feelings of insufficiency are affecting my performance for sure. So this KB class gave me a confidence boost that I want to bring into my professional work this week and going forward!

look at that KB!! they name it Wakanda

groove.

Today is my mom’s birthday! I cannot say enough about how incredibly generous and loving that woman is. I love you and appreciate you more than you know, Madre. ♥︎

MONDAY LET’S GOOOOOO!

So tell me:

How did you feel when you started working your first “real” job?

What kinds of things give you confidence?

Do you like working out with kettlebells?

What have you been cooking / baking recently?

Don’t lose yourself.

pray.

Gosh I hate how cliche that title sounds, but it’s the topic of this post and the thing on my heart as of late.

First of all, I’ve been praying for a lot of grace and gusto going from six months of having virtually no hard schedule to a full-time work schedule soon. Even just training this week tuckered me out, but that was also due to the stress of wondering, “HOW WILL I REMEMBER EVERYTHING AND ALSO BE THE PT THESE PATIENTS WANT ME TO BE?!” I’m filling the position of another PT who is moving to another position within the same company, and her patients love her (for good reason; she’s awesome at what she does and super kind to boot), so I’m definitely feeling the pressure of filling big shoes.

As I said in my latest day in the life vlog, prayer is major key for everything in my life. So I have been telling God about the pressure I am feeling to be exactly like this amazing PT who is leaving, as well as the fear of losing my mind a bit due to having much less time to pray during the day (and mostly just my mind being filled with thoughts about my job).

There are productivity numbers to hit, patients to care for, nuances to remember, hours to work. No one by any means is putting any undue pressure on me, to be clear. But the internal pressure to rise to the occasion makes me panic and want to just do anything I can to conform and please. But I have to remember what I believe as a physical therapist, given the education I have received. And from a personal standpoint, I have to make time around my schedule for the things that build up my relationship with the One I love and to be intentional about sanctifying my work as one biiiig prayer to God.

I am 1000% having newbie professional stress that I know will subside with time. I am very open to new ideas and experiences, but in all of it, I do not want to lose myself.

eat.

On Sunday I made baked cinnamon sugar donut holes (mini muffins) using this recipe, since I don’t have a donut mold. They were everything I wanted in a homemade donut.

For work I’ve decided I will he making ham, cheese and lettuce sandwiches with mayo and mustard. Let me tell you, I LOVE this classic brown bag type of sandwich. Untoasted. It’s nostalgic somehow, even though I barely ate ham and cheese as a child?

move.

I’ve still been posting my workouts on my instagram stories (which are saved on my highlights!), but here was one of my favorites from the past week:

  • 100 American KB swings (broken up any way you’d like)
  • 100 goblet squats (I broke up into sets of 25)
  • 50 pushups (I did sets of 5-10 at a time for form)
  • 50 burpees (i did in sets of 10 any style you’d like)

This was a simple and quick workout that focused on form over anything! I’ve been really honing in on perfecting my form as much as possible with every rep to increase the effectiveness of the exercise and make my workouts more efficient.

groove.

On Sunday night I learned the dance moves to the bridge of the song “Amigas Cheetahs’ by the Cheetah Girls (go to 3:15 to see the part I learned). I have always loved that part of the song and also the dance moves but it only took me ten years since first seeing the movie to learn it. #disneydreamsdocometrue

I do the dance like twice a day at least now.

I typed this whole post on my phone because my laptop has decided to do magic tricks and make my whole operating system completely disappear??? Getting that checked out this weekend.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

So tell me:

Have you ever felt like the hustle of life / work made you “lose yourself” to any degree?

Have you ever made homemade donuts?

What is a silly childhood dream of yours? Has it ever come true??