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 ūüôā

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 ¬Į\_(„ÉĄ)_/¬Į 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?

What I’m Currently Craving For This Blog

The Lord is merciful. As soon as I complained about kind of hot and humid weather

BUH BAM.

Absolutely perfect weather these past couple of days. I went on a walk Monday morning, and it was…chilly(!) in the shade.

These pretty flowers are artistic expressions of my emotions in this weather.

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open, vibrant, kinda scattered, but loving life

Other reasons why the stressful Monday mood turned right-side up:

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perfect batch of peach banana overnight oats (added some Greek yogurt as per the OG recipe!)

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soft and satisfying chocolate chip cookie a la physical therapist

PLUS, my coworker gave me half of her homemade beef and egg empanada after I got a whiff of it and commented on how amazing it smelled. PLUS-PLUS, one of the patients brought me a box of cookies since it’s my last week at work! 11

I can’t handle the generosity *squishes cheeks in between hands*!!!

All these and other little sweetnesses (literally and figuratively) during my day are keeping all the stressful and/or¬†negative things at bay. Like cramming all my study abroad preparations, because I’m a procrastinator.

Moving on…

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As I snacked on this new-to-me Pure Organic bar yesterday, I started to organize my thoughts about this blog.

I’ve¬†had phases of both¬†strict and lax scheduling for my blog. This summer I’ve been posting approximately twice a week, which feels¬†natural with my work schedule. That being said, it’s always:¬†a weekend recap post + some special themed or deep-thought post.

Don’t get me wrong, those posts always flow from a genuine place, and I’ve enjoyed writing them. However, I feel like I have SO MANY things in my brain that I want to write down and share with you almost every day. Especially as I’m¬†experiencing¬†a multitude of new events, emotions, responsibilities, people, places, and things at this stage in my life, I’m craving for this space to be filled with big AND little insights.

In other words, I’m craving slightly more frequent but shorter posts with the same kind of thoughtfulness and meaning as my mega long posts. I don’t want to squeeze¬†everything that’s happening in my life into a single monster post all the time. I can share less of what happens but more of what happens in my head and heart.

I want to ask you guys more life questions. Questions about things that no one talks about but everyone probably thinks about. Not just, “what did you eat last night?” (although I do still want to know that too).

Don’t worry‚ÄĒ I’ll still be talking about “healthy living”-related things, and I’ll still have longer posts. Also, I definitely will NOT be posting every day for the sake of it; I will post when I feel like I have meaningful or entertaining content to put out.

As Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers so wisely said: post what you would want to read!

Part of me doesn’t want to post this, because I know my schedule is about to turn upside down and inside out with studying abroad, buuuuut these are my thoughts and we’ll see if I execute the way I see it in my head. If not, then…nothing changes!

You know it:

meme humpday

[source]

So tell me:

What are some nice things about your week that are counteracting the stress?

Would¬†you like to read short “thought/reflection of the day” or “story time” posts?

No Hunger, No Problem

Did any of you watch the CrossFit Games this past week!?

In-freaking-sane. I was on the edge of my seat eating kettle corn watching these superhumans do the impossible.

In other news…

Three of my high school dance company friends got together for a reunion at Bareburger. It had been forever since I’d seen Pam and Charli (I saw Susie not too long ago in the city), and it was so fun catching up with these girls! We’re all talking about our jobs and intense research projects these days. TOO MUCH (quasi-)ADULTING.

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what radiant women

As Charli said, we came with our eager stomachs for some kickass burgers. Pam also spotted these incredible brussels sprouts on the menu that we shared. Get this: brussels sprouts with sriracha, blue cheese, pork belly, and butternut squash.

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Whoever thought of this combo is out of his/her mind,¬†yet so brilliant. For my burger, I got the El Matador: bison burger, queso fresco, pickled jalape√Īos, guac, pico de gallo, and green leaf lettuce on a sprout bun.

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it looks like a guacamole sandwich tower at first sight, which is very pleasing

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Demolished that.

Warning: the rest of this is going to be very first world problem. 

When my family went out for our Groupon dinner (that was postponed last week) at North Street Tavern after Mass, I was not hungry at all. Lunch at Bareburger was fatty and filling, but it was also pretty late (we finished at around 3:30).

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I could have eaten a salad at Bareburger, but I didn’t want to be “that person” to order salad¬†at a burger place, especially while dining with good friends.¬†Not that they would have judged me, but I knew that we chose¬†this reunion to be at¬†Bareburger¬†for a reason (read: dang delicious burgers).

I also really wanted a burger because I had just worked out and I wanted hearty foooooood.

If I’m honest, I was almost…disappointed that I was so full by the time dinner rolled around. We were about to eat at this fancy restaurant, and I had zero desire for any food. This would have stressed me out to NO END a couple years ago.

“Why did I eat so much at lunch? I will definitely only have a salad now. Maybe I just shouldn’t eat at all. Should I just try to stuff all this food?”

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crab cakes with mango salsa for the table to share¬†‚ěĒ 1/2 a cake for each person

But as intro anatomy taught me, rest and digest is the way to go. It’s easier said than done for some of us (trust me), but there’s no need to stress over food. In my recovery, there was a¬†weird phase where I unsure¬†whether¬†I was¬†stuffed because I actually overate or because I just needed to adjust to this new amount of food that I should be eating.¬†This made me hyper-attentive to my stomach at all times, and I would stress about¬†having to¬†eat a certain amount for each meal, even if I wasn’t that hungry.

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tuna tartare¬†‚ěĒ mom shared a bite with me

Sometimes that anxiety still creeps up on me, even though I’m certain that I’m eating a healthy amount¬†overall. Or maybe it’s just anxiety that I need to eat all this good food while it’s in front of me. Either way, I’ve learned to CHILL.

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mom’s fave: sweet potato fries¬†‚ěĒ I had a few¬†of these

If I’m not hungry at all, no one is forcing me to eat. Don’t eat. If I have a few bites of food‚ÄĒ because, hey, I’m at a nice¬†restaurant with my family‚ÄĒ that’s still okay. God gave us food to live and to enjoy, but He definitely did not give it to us to stress over it.

If you’ve struggled with food in any way, you know that it’s hard to naturally accept those thoughts¬†“like a normal person”, but I can attest that it is possible to work through it.

Luckily for me, the rest of the family didn’t have nearly as much food as I did during the day, so they were ready for this meal.

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my wood-fired personal pizza with roasted red peppers, mushrooms, ricotta, and basil¬†‚ěĒ 2 slices of this

As I relaxed into the meal more, I found that my appetite started to appear (it had been ~4 hours since I finished at Bareburger by then).

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a bite or two of Ben’s lobster mac and cheese

I knew to save room for dessert, don’t you worry. This I finished all by myself.

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carrot cake!

A few disclaimers:

  1. We ordered so much food because the Groupon was worth a LOT.
  2. Hooray for leftovers.
  3. We are humbly grateful to have so much delicious food available to us.
  4. We also don’t usually eat out every weekend, but I dunno, I guess we have Groupons to use.

Other eats at home have involved peanut butter and banana (but I didn’t need to say that).

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brown rice breakfast bowl

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overnight oat smoothie with blueberries added in

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whole wheat banana pancakes for Sunday morning breakfast

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topped with Greek yogurt, nut butter, and blueberries

I also taught Ben how to make and eat avocado egg toast. It is truly an art and a skill. Let me know if you want a tutorial.

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I’d say the young lad needs¬†a bit more practice, but not bad for a rookie.

Hope you all have an awesome Monday! Rest and digest.

So tell me: 

Thoughts on this first world problem of mine.

What was your Sunday morning breakfast?

Did you watch the CrossFit Games?

What are you thankful for today?¬†Well, if I do indeed wake up after I go to sleep tonight (typing this Sunday night), then I’m thankful for another day of life and for the opportunity to go a job that I¬†find enjoyable and fulfilling.

 

The Best Vacation Ever {Part 1}

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…I was wondering if after all these days you’d like to meet. To go over…EVERYTHING.

I couldn’t get it out of my head, I’m sorry. I’m done with that joke now.

But seriously, HELLO! I am no longer¬†cruising through the deep blue sea, but I’m happy to be back to a routine. My family and our close friends were on the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas last week for a fantastic vacation. That ship is a city on water, guys. A freaking masterpiece.

Without further ado, here’s part one of three (maybe four?) recaps of just the highlights of¬†what I¬†deem¬†to have been¬†the best vacation ever. Grab some¬†popcorn if you so wish.

Friday, July 1st

Pop and I had a 9 pm flight that was delayed for three hours (guess that’s a lowlight, not a highlight).

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We killed a little bit of that time by walking through the parking lot with our luggages. This was actually Pop’s idea! #PopMovesAndGrooves

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Saturday, July 2nd

Madre and Ben picked us up at the Orlando airport at around 2 AM. I was half asleep and groggy, but Pop was basically sprinting out of the gate to find them. In my head:¬†“Pop, 2 AM is NOT¬†a time to have pep in your step.”

Breakfast at around 9:30.

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quick cook steel cut oats with peach, banana, and nuts

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sunny egg

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a piece of “banana bread” (a strange but satisfying texture)

3 rounds of this circuit workout with a 36# bar. That Florida humidity makes me feel like a soggy vegetable.

Lunch before heading to Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park with Ben. He worked there last summer, so he got some free park pass perks, and I got to mooch off the benefits.

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There was a 1.5-hour thunderstorm safety closure, so Ben and I were sitting out in pouring rain in our bathing suits for a while, because we were wet anyway (we also forgot towels because we’re geniuses). But we still managed to ride all the slides once they reopened!

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Showered and dried myself with a single tank top.

Dinner at Crazy Buffet (pronounced cuh-RAZY, according to Ben) with good family friends! I ate one plate of real food, dessert second, and then another salad last. Needed to make sure I had room for dessert, ya know?

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Sunday, July 3rd

Early wake-up to drive to Fort Lauderdale for Mass before boarding the ship.

Once we met up with our family friends, we boarded and booked it straight for the lunch buffet. We were a little excited for the cruise food.

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The first of many. Lunches were usually all the veggies, some sort of curry with rice…

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…and a dessert that I really did NOT need to eat.

Our tiny stateroom was cozy, and our balcony overlooked the “Boardwalk” area of the ship. So cool.

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Of course, we had to explore this monster of a ship. I still don’t think I covered¬†the whole entire thing over the course of a week.

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Pop was walking on the track at this time, I think #PopMovesAndGrooves

Oh man, this is where I start feeling sad because I miss it.

We were served a three course meal for dinner every. single. night. It was decadent and so delicious. You would think that I would feel full and bloated during the trip, but nay! On the contrary (ew, okay I’ll stop talking like that), my stomach felt GREAT the whole vacation. And I don’t care about having a flat belly, but it was actually flatter than ever.

Know what that means?

  • I’m not lactose-intolerant (I had so much ice cream on the cruise).
  • My bloating/GI discomfort comes from stress and eating as quickly as I can during my busy day.

Will work on that. But back to this cruise food. Three courses for EACH PERSON (sometimes even four if we were feeling two appetizers, because it was all included¬†‚Üź dangerous). Night 1:

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eggplant artichoke puff pastry tart

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orange “mojo” sauce pork chop

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carrot cake!

We also shared a lot of our food with one another, just so we could taste all the delicious flavors. Classy gluttons, I say.

I don’t remember what else we did that night, but I’m sure it was a blast.

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p.s. when we walked through this “Royal Promenade” area, there was ~included~ pizza, sandwiches, water, coffee, tea, desserts, and other snacks all day #help

Monday, July 4th

Breakfasts at the “Windjammer Marketplace” consisted of oatmeal with some combo of eggs, bacon, corned beef hash, and/or yogurt with fruit.

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topped with peanut butter later (yes, I did bring my own jar of Jif Natural)

First port ‚ÄĒ Nassau, Bahamas.

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“what do we do with it?”

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mannequin’s eyebrows impressively on fleek

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view from the ship as we sailed away

We didn’t do too much in Nassau except some walking and a little bit of underwhelming beachin’. It was a beautiful day though, and the waters were so clear!

Back on the boat, we celebrated America with some free pre-lunch¬†flag¬†cake that greeted the masses in front of Windjammer’s doors (not tantalizing at all for hungry tourists waiting on line for a table).

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‘Twas delicious cake, I must say.

Vegetables for lunch, please!

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salad, roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, turkey burger with mushrooms and caramelized onions

The fitness center on the ship was great. I think I was most excited about the kettlebells, which I used in my workout on Monday. There were also TRX’s, but the fitness center lady reprimanded me for using it without a certified TRX instructor.

I forget exactly what I did on Monday, but I know it involved kettlebell swings, pushups, sumo squats, Russian twists, jump lunges, and BOSU ball stuff.

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PSA: Stretch, por favor

Monday night was formal night! AKA the night Alison gets into something other than athletic clothes.

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Fun fact: We went on our first cruise ever with Christie and Monica (pictured above) and their parents 12 years ago. Naturally, we did a then and now photo.

Everyone nailed it, but¬†I’m WAY off.

Dinner that night was delicious, but not quite as good as the first night.

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one of my favorite appetizers: “Roman Vignolo Salad” with arugula, edamame, green beans, tomatoes, prosciutto, artichokes, and parmesan

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sole with a tomato caper sauce

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butter almond ice cream

I believe we saw an acrobatics show that night‚ÄĒ Royal Caribbean’s original “Blue Planet”. Very entertaining and impressive! Followed by a super late night comedy show, which made me laugh until my abs hurt.

Tuesday, July 5th

We were at sea all day, so we slept in before a sit-down breakfast to change it up a bit. We decided that we all liked the buffet more though (mostly because there were more options).

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smoked salmon and herb egg white omelette 

Ben, my uncle, and I gave the FlowRider a go later on. If you’ve never¬†seen a Royal Caribbean commercial, the FlowRider is essentially a surfing simulator on the ship. There are two ways you can do it‚ÄĒ boogie board on your stomach (easier) or surfboard on your feet (harder).

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I don’t know this girl, but this is what it looks like.

A few comments about the FlowRider:

  • It’s a lot harder than it looks.
  • 10-year-olds show me up.
  • Falling off doesn’t hurt, but being swooshed up to the top like a half-dead fish can be painful…

…and it did do some damage to my brother. Poor Ben¬†dislocated his shoulder on his surfboard run.

I’ll spare the image for privacy reasons, but long story short: The doctor on board popped it back in (I contemplated popping¬†it back in when he first told us about it, but…I’m not that¬†dumb). He was given a sling to wear for a while, he lost a little bit of function (guess who cut his food the rest of the trip? :D), but he’s okay, thank God.

After all the excitement, I went to eat a late lunch by myself at Windjammer.

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A few activities and maybe a nap led us to dinner.

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Ben and I shared the caprese salad + the arancini for appetizer

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pork tenderloin with provolone potatoes (*angels singing*) and vegetables

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favorite dessert of the trip: bread and butter pudding a la mode¬†‚ěĒ it was like a cross between creme¬†br√Ľl√©e and bread pudding

While Madre and Pop were at the “Love and Marriage Game Show” at night, Ben and I decorated the stateroom for the ‘rents anniversary the next day. Ben was the brain behind the beauty of the setup!

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When Madre and Pop came back late that night, they were so surprised and touched. Woohoo! Happy 25th to the lovely¬†couple ūüôā


Part 2 coming tomorrow! Holy toledo, this is quite an epic recap.

So tell me:

Have you ever been on a cruise?

Does your stomach feel better on vacation, even with more food?

What did you Americans do for Fourth of July?

Have you ever dislocated your shoulder?

What was the best thing you ate last week?

More content = more questions for you. Let’s chat, please; it’s been a while!

On the Verge of Internet Addiction?

Thoughts are flooding my mind like:

giphy-2

[source]

…but first, let’s do some happy small talk!

The temperature in the mornings has been just lovely. A little chilly to some, but I love me some light sweater weather.

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After breakfast, Mass, and a little morning nap (I start work at 12 on Mondays), I took my moves and grooves outside, naturally.

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banana bread baked oatmeal with cinnamon raisin peanut butter + glass o’ {Lactaid} milk

THIS WAS HARD:

  • 1 mile run
  • 100 burpees
  • 100 double unders
  • 1 mile run

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I couldn’t tell you which part was the hardest, but I can tell you that all I could think of on that last mile was,¬†“Keep chugging away. Don’t stop.”¬†Even though I probably could have walked faster than I was running at some points (thanks,¬†hills).

Here’s me trying to smile at the end.

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But I’m proud of myself! I hardly ever run, and I went ahead and did two miles of it in a workout.

Today I might go for a walk or do my favorite 18 minute plank workout. Either way, my legs need a break.

So last night…

I was still feeling funky and down, but I knew that it wasn’t just because of the weekend’s events. I couldn’t really pinpoint why I was feeling so unsettled and just…¬†off.

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part of yesterday’s lunch: salad with cherry tomatoes, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, and sliced smoked duck breast (from the farmers’ market)

Granted, I was pretty wiped out, and fatigue always brings me down. But Pop noticed at the dinner table that something was up.

“I’m fine.”¬†‚Üź Fortunately, Pop knows the true meaning of those words.

I don’t usually have qualms about telling my parents how I feel, but truthfully, I myself didn’t really know what was going on. However, when Pop entered my room (as I wiped a single tear from my eye), I just talked it out, discovering what exactly was bothering me.

The main thing is¬†the internet. I just felt exhausted and more stressed with the internet lately‚ÄĒ social media and even blogging. It’s not that I don’t enjoy keeping up with people and blogging (hello, here I am right now), but I feel a little bit enslaved to it at times.

I gotta check Instagram. *scrolls mindlessly and finds an account to “stalk”*

I need to do one thing on Facebook. *scrolls mindlessly and watches at least five of those Tasty videos*

I’ll take this time to read a couple blogs. *goes through the hundreds of unread blog posts*

I’ll check this person’s Snapchat story. *goes through everyone’s story*¬†‚Üź Okay, Snapchat made the stories continuous with one another, which is like a black hole.

I’ve been talking about social media’s toxicity in several different blog posts recently, but I still have not made too much of a change. I clicked on this article called “10 Things You May Not Know About Anxiety Disorder” via Arman’s Coffee Talk post yesterday (another thing: clicking on links), and one thing is that ¬†“People who suffer from gambling or internet addictions are more likely to also have anxiety disorder.”

Do I think I have a legit internet addiction? No. However, I think I could be heading¬†towards one at this rate. Internet doesn’t interfere with my daily work life or anything, but once I don’t have responsibilities, I feel like I can’t get away from it. There’s always something to do/see/like/comment/post on my phone or laptop.

Pop offered some good advice about practical ways to combat this sub-internet-addiction. I also added some strategies myself:

  • Unfollow people on Facebook and Instagram. I don’t need to be following every friend and every fitness junkie/foodie out there. Clean up the feed.
  • Limit yourself to just “liking” things, without feeling like you need to comment.
  • Read a select few blogs.
  • Read actual books more (shoutout to school teachers).
  • Before touching any piece of technology, make a list of what you intend to do when you’re on the internet. Stick to that list. Go in with intention.

This week is all about humility and self-reflection, ain’t it?

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I just finished the best overnight oats I’ve had in a while¬†

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It’s not fun knowing that I have a disorder-prone mind. It’s not easy to share weakness. But¬†acknowledging my weakness is one way that God helps me knock down my pride and build me up in a way that is more beautiful than before.¬†And vulnerability is the best way to connect to others!

#BeMoreHuman ‚Üź that’s a Reebok hashtag, but it works here.

(p.s. Yesterday, I said that¬†I would talk about body image stuff today, but that’s not on my heart right now, so I changed the topic. In short, just know that you are so much more than your outward beauty!!! LIFE is so much more than outward beauty.)

Go get ’em, friends.

Comment or don’t comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts, but you can also just shut down your computer/phone and go on with your day ūüôā