Four Things I Pray For Every Work Day

Moves. The gift of movement is something for which I feel more grateful with each passing day. From the times when I don’t have the opportunity to work out to seeing the ways in which my patients struggle with movement, I see each step and workout as a blessed thing. Since it has been quite a few days since my last post, I will highlight only a few of my favorite workouts from this past week.

Last Thursday: Yoga online

Last Friday: Outdoor play time + rock climbing with Janice and a couple more friends!

Saturday: Lower body

  • Squats (warmup ➔ 1×8 at 135# ➔ 1×5 at 155# ➔ 3×3 at 165# ➔ 4×4 at 155#)
  • 3 rounds: 12 KBS + concentric to eccentric deadlift to squat jump x10

Monday: HIIT workout (30 sec work/30 sec rest x 4 rounds)

  • Dumbbell burpee to push press
  • Bent over dumbbell rows
  • Bear crawl plank to kick through
  • Wall balls
  • Plank jack climbers / crossing mountain climbers

Yesterday: Upper body

  • Pull-up practice with and without band // 15 second flexed arm hangs
  • 8 devil presses + 10-12 dumbbell chest press on ball
  • Wall walks focusing on weight shifting in handstand position
  • 10 TRX rows + 6-8 dips
  • 12 scorpion ball planks / 8 ball pike to pushup + 40 double unders

10 hours. That’s how much sleep I got last night because I have been terrible at getting at least 7 hours of sleep for the past couple weeks months. I went to sleep at 8pm like a baby, and oh how I wish I could do that every night.

Chipotle rice. Last Saturday a few friends and I helped out another friend with her high school retreat at the church where she is a youth minister. Most importantly, the theme was forgiveness, and it was beautiful to see so many high schoolers respond to God’s Mercy that night. Second most importantly, I discovered how much I really love Chipotle’s lime cilantro rice. I know it’s old news at this point, but DANG that is some buttery flavorful goodness. I took home some leftovers and enjoyed every last bite of it this week.

Brunch and generosity. Also last weekend, I grabbed brunch at Cafe Landwer with my friend Sabrina, and it was just lovely. I had shakshuka with halloumi cheese and the best bread. She had a breakfast platter that included tastes of lots of little dishes. We both didn’t know each other very well before the brunch, but we ended hoping to catch up again soon.

What struck me was her generosity in treating me to brunch (and an Uber from one crowded brunch place to another). She is a young, relatively new grad who could probably be frugal like the rest of us, but she realized her position of having a job and my position of still being a student with zero income, and she without a question treated me to brunch. It’s small and logical, but I felt that the gesture was filled with so much love and consideration. Thank you, Sabrina!

Four things. It’s been a busy but good week at clinical, but the current and impending challenges of becoming the best new grad PT I can be is a little daunting. Since my first clinical in summer of 2018, I have prayed for two things: honesty and humility. I wanted to be very honest in what I knew and did not know, in what I needed from my clinical instructor, and in who I was as a clinician and a person. All while being humble in accepting criticism and in failing at times.

Since the start of this third clinical, I have prayed for an additional two graces: clarity and competence. As I am approaching my doctorate, it’s not just about passing to the next step of my education; it’s about exceeding expectations to give my patients the very best care possible. I know I need to be clear and intentional about what I do for treatment and why, and it needs to be backed by solid evidence and clinical reasoning.

Honesty, humility, clarity, and competence. My H’s and C’s. It all seems obvious, but they don’t come easily all the time, so I pray for them.

So tell me:

What was your favorite workout this past week?

Do you like Chipotle rice?

What is a kind gesture that stood out to you this week?

Do you have a daily prayer / mantra to get you through the work week?

Siestas and Surgical Masks

Siesta. I am in full support of siestas.

si·es·ta /sēˈestə/ noun: an afternoon rest or nap, especially one taken during the hottest hours of the day in a hot climate

It ain’t hot outside, but afternoon nap time can bring me from death to life, let me tell ya. Perhaps the sleep experts in this world would vehemently disagree with this, but yesterday I was reminded of the power of a quick one hour snooze. I had a half day of work and was commuting towards the gym, but I was exceptionally tired and knew that my workout would be a wash if I tried to squat heavy like I was planning. With John’s encouragement, I decided to detour home instead to take an afternoon nap and boiiiiii was it worth it.

I know our nation would not be as productive as it is (or is it??) with siestas, but honestly, maybe we would be happier.

I also just need to sleep earlier, so that’s on me.

Moves. Due to the siesta, I did a 45-minute evening YouTube yoga session. Ooooo it was a delight. I had not done yoga in ages, and my back was TALKIN’ to me because of it.

Surgical masks. So this coronavirus. My roommate, a dermatologist from Japan, and I were talking about the wearing of surgical masks as a way to prevent infecting others or becoming infected by others. Not just in hospital settings where it’s required, but in the general public, just out and about.

At Boston University there is a great number of students from Asia (especially China). These students from Asia ~tend~ to be much more comfortable walking around wearing surgical masks, even without a global health emergency at hand. My roommate was asking me if Americans do the same or if it’s considered weird. I told her that it is definitely less common for sick people to wear surgical masks unless they are around vulnerable (i.e., infants) or immunocompromised people. Usually people just quarantine themselves, cover their mouths when they sneeze, and wash their hands more often.

So it’s not “weird,” per se, but it is an observation that people from Asian countries tend to wear them more normally than people who are American-born and raised. My roommate said that surgical masks are very normal to wear on a daily basis in Japan, even for women who just want to cover their makeup-less faces! Just seems to be a cultural difference.

As a healthcare professional to be, I think it should be more normal to wear a mask even with a common cold. I don’t want your germs, and you wouldn’t want mine. I don’t have actual evidence on how effective a mask is, but we use them for droplet precautions in the hospital, so there must be some value to them.

My roommate went on to talk about the use of umbrellas in the sun. Again, people from Asia, as well as older people, ~tend~ to use umbrellas in this way more than people who have always lived in America. But if you saw my roommate’s skin (35 years old and doesn’t look a day over 25), you’d want to use an umbrella in the sun too.

So tell me:

Do you support siestas?

Have you noticed trends in the who/what/where of surgical mask wearing outside of hospital settings?

Do you like yoga? When was the last time you practiced?

Life + Death

Moves. Sunday’s workout killed me. A pistol squat burpee ladder for the lower body and the cardiovascular system:

  • 10 pistol squats each leg
  • 10 burpees
  • 9 pistols each leg
  • 9 burpees
  • ….all the way down to 1 pistol squat each leg, 1 burpee

I didn’t do anything on Monday due to time constraints. On Tuesday after work though, I needed to move because I was going MAD. I’ve gotten better at “tolerating” lack of movement (whereas in the past I would need to get up ever 10 minutes to walk or squat or something), but sometimes after a long day ya girl just feels like she’s about to implode. So a 9pm trip to the gym for a 45-minute assault bike workout helped immensely. It helped that I was off work the next day too.

Yesterday I did an upper body workout involving:

  • 4 sets of pull-ups to failure (unassisted and assisted)
  • 3×10 dumbbell clean and press // 3×16 stability ball scorpions
  • 3×10-14 TRX rows // 3×10 TRX pike pushups
  • 2 sets of dips to failure
  • 3×35 double unders

Life. This past weekend I attended the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

My religious views are not a secret if you’ve been reading for a while or know me, and they inevitably and necessarily affect my political views as well. Politics aside though (I h a t e talking about politics), what I’ve reflected on personally this year during and after the march is that my chance to be pro-life is at every moment. On the one hand, to speak up for those who are the most vulnerable (e.g., the unborn, immigrants, victims of sex trafficking, people without homes, people who are non-verbal, to name a few) is a priority in the pro-life movement.

However, I do not think that anyone can be pro-life without putting in the physical, emotional, and spiritual work to love the most vulnerable people they encounter in their day-to-day. That may look different for every person depending on your job, geographic location, and circumstance in life. In essence though, my hope for every person at the March for Life, including myself, was that they were “walking the walk,” not just at the March for life (as important as that is) but for the person in front of them today.

Death. Rest in peace, Kobe Bryant, Gigi, and all others killed on the helicopter. BU’s chaplain, Fr. Barnes, had some beautiful words to say in light of the tragedy.

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“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” John 6:51 . RIP Kobe & Gianna Bryant. 🙏🏼 May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. . Kobe blessed and inspired so many people throughout his short life, on and off the court. The most loving thing you could possibly do in remembrance of him right now, is to continue to pray for the repose of his and Gianna’s soul (his daughter), and to continue lifting up in prayer, his wife and three girls who he leaves behind. . I’ve been weighed down by this terrible news all day. I think what got to me the most is thinking about his family. I have a wife and 4 kids... I can’t imagine what they’re experiencing right now. I also know that the truth is death will come for all of us some day. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. . So this tragic end to Kobe’s life is a blunt reminder for all of us to love God, family, and neighbor with that “mamba mentality” so that when it comes time for us to leave this life, we will be ready to meet God and give an account of our lives. Nothing is more important to prepare for than that moment. May he hear, and may we hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” Matt. 25:21 . #mementomori #ripkobe #ripgigi

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Meatballs. I bought and froze a pack of 80/20 (#FatIsPhat) ground beef the other week and put it to good use with this NYT meatball recipe that is superbly easy to execute. I was baking banana bread at the same time, so I decided to pan fry the meatballs instead, and that was a solid move.

Lunar New Year. Celebrated with lots of dim sum on Saturday with the fam and then hot pot with John and friends! It’s the year of the rat, and I was born in the year of the rat. Apparently in Chinese culture, that’s bad luck, but in Vietnamese culture, it’s good luck if it’s your year. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Italian cooking music. It’s a playlist on Spotify that my friend Ben is playing currently, and I am loving it. So sweet and chill. My dentist last week was also playing a tango playlist on Pandora, and that was also something fun to which I could see myself cooking/working.

Work Hard, Play Hard

Work hard, play hard. My friend makes fun of me for talking about how I can’t do much else except work Monday-Wednesday and how my fun and chores are done Thursday-Sunday, because, “everyone has a job, Alisonnnn.” But I’m new to this and I am TIRED by 8pm when I get home! My friend Zoe and I have also started a 90-ish-day fasting “program” (for lack of a better term) inspired by something called Fiat 90. It’s a list of sacrifices/fasts leading up to Lent and including Lent. It’s not solely focused on food fasting, but more so on life and prayer habits. Zoe and I are doing a ~modified~ Fiat 90 to more feasibly fit our current lives while still challenging ourselves.

(One snack per day means only one snack in addition to my normal three meals! And fasting on Friday is just Lenten fasting — one normal meal and two smaller meals that do not add up to the big meal. By no means is this fasting related to my health choices… I would not fast from food for any reason except for spiritual growth and intentionality.)

Also, we are allowing ourselves to break the fasts on Sundays — the Lord’s Day and a mini Easter every time.

So since we’re working hard and fasting hard during the week, we are playing hard on the weekends and feasting hard on Sundays 🙂 Here is how the weekend went.

Moves. It is difficult for me to work out at the end of my long work days Monday-Wednesday, so I relish the time I get to move and groove Thursday through Sunday.

Thursday: Upper body focused / functional training day

  • 3 pull-ups, 3×5 pull-up negatives
  • Circuit x3 (8 devil presses, 8 bent over dumbbell rows to deadlift, 10 wall balls, 30 sec double unders)
  • Circuit x3 (10 TRX pike pushups, 5 TRX rollouts + 5 TRX tricep extensions [x3], 5 toes to bar)
  • Circuit x3 (10 bent over curl bar rows, 10 bottoms up KB presses each arm, 10 lateral DB raises)
  • Row sprints as fast as possible! (20 sec on / 40 sec recovery x10)

Friday: BKBX Athletics Class. This class was more intense than I was expecting given the advertisement of this class being about “metabolic recovery.” It consisted of a lot timed circuits including variations on single leg deadlifts, dumbbell snatches, bear crawls, box jumps, split squats, dead hangs, and slider planks. Then FAST burpees between each circuit.

Saturday: Rest because my pecs and lats had never been so sore in my life (or so it seemed).

Sunday: Leggies!

  • Increasing weight back squats until 5×3 and then 1×3 and 4×5 1.5 squats (burrrrrn)
  • 5×3 pistol squats each leg
  • 3×10 kneel to squat jumps

Simple but took lots of rest and my legs were still SHAKING by the end.

Salsa dancing. My friends Celine and Domenica invited me to come salsa dancing with them on Friday night, and I thoroughly enjoyed the spicy moves and grooves as a fun social and physical activity. It was CROWDED, but we had a blast. Besides actually dancing, watching people who are better than us is really entertaining. Fun fact: I learned how to do several types of ballroom and Latin partner dances when I was in middle school when my parents attended lessons.

Perfect. Ben, Casey, John and I went to Yume Wo Katare for ramen and dream sharing. We all finished everything in our bowls, warranting a “perfect” score from the restaurant *bows*.

A truly restorative Sunday. Throughout school, I have been pretty terrible at actually resting on Sundays due to constant studying. But now that I have a little less work to do on weekends, I have more wiggle room to have a truly restorative Sunday, and for that I am very grateful. Yesterday included a workout, Mass, lunch and dessert with friends, hanging out by a fireplace, and drinking hot cocoa. It was a beautiful time that made me feel refreshed for the next few days of hard work again!

Happy Monday, friends! If you have MLK Day off in the United States, enjoy!

So tell me:

Do you find it difficult to have truly restorative weekends / days off? Why or why not?

What was the most fun thing you did this weekend?

Have you ever been to dance lessons/a dance club?

Making More Time and Space

Moves. Some stretching and yoga type stuff in the evening before sleeps time. I got off work a whole two hours early yesterday, but I was s l e e p y as heck (and also forgot to bring workout clothes in my bag), so some mobility and control felt good.

Maximize time and space. I have shared before on this blog that I have a scrolling issue on social media, especially late at night when I’m beat and my brain seems to be flatlining. John told me that with the (relatively) new iPhone software, I can set time limits on specific apps. At first I was like, “Ehhhhh I can control myself.” But no, no I cannot. With Lent coming soon, I want to maximize time and space for things that matter — prayer, relationships, health — and I want to do something tangible yet reasonable given my blogging hobby. So I have a 20 minute time limit on both Facebook and Instagram, combined. Seems like a long time at face value, but it is shocking how quickly that time is used up throughout the day. But it’s good for me.

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throwback photo because ya girl has limited media storage space hehe

I’ve tried to make a habit of spending most of my time commuting looking up and not at my phone. Notes: A) You ever seen how many people are on their phones!? B) The things that fill my brain as a result are weird but sometimes lovely. Sometimes I think about dinner (obvi), sometimes I remember random people who I want to catch up with, sometimes I become a philosopher to myself, and sometimes I can wonder and imagine what people on the train are feeling and experiencing in this moment of their lives.

Night routine. I get it. I get why people post YouTube videos about nighttime routines. My night routine two nights ago fell to crap when I got home late, and then I ended up sleeping too late and being super tired yesterday. So I feel the need to tidy up my nighttime routine and, again, putting limits on my time “unwinding” OR doing truly restorative unwinding activities (e.g., praying, journaling, stretching, prepping food in silence #ASMR???). I’ll let you know if that routine comes together one of these days.

So tell me:

Do you use app time limits or time limits on any sort of mindless thing in your daily routine? How do you practice self-control otherwise?

How do you feel about your ability to do truly restorative activities when coming home from work?

Do you have a set nighttime routine?