Five Minute Friday #1: Managing Stress

Do you ever feel think, “Wow. I feel so inadequate for this right now.”?

*raises hand*

We just finished the second week of this semester, and it’s KICKING MY BUTT. I feel like we’ve been in school for two months already. But God is good and challenge is good.

IMG_0003

I also made a vlog for you guys today! You can decide whether that’s good or bad news. I’m thinking of doing regular Friday vlogs because it’s quick and fun way for me to catch up/talk with y’all at the end of the week. I’m calling it “Five Minute Friday’s” with the goal of keeping my yapping to a minimum.

This week’s debut is about how I’ve been managing stress (see Monday’s post…and the intro to this post). So without further ado, please enjoy the less-than-flattering angle of my face!

link to the video if isn’t working here!

I talked about apple crisp a la mode, so here it is in it’s glory:

IMG_0005

Lunch dessert seems 100% necessary sometimes.

Breakfast is definitely 100% necessary. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my post on Wednesday about how my omelette order got swapped with another girl’s order, and I could have solved the problem had I not doused my eggs in sriracha so quickly (the other girl does not like sriracha, so the possibility of swapping vanished).

IMG_0001

One last good thing to close this frenzied Friday post: I worked out outside yesterday! It’s been pretty warm this week, despite the fact that there’s still some snow on the ground.

IMG_0022

FRESH AIR.

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone! Eat some lunch dessert.

So tell me:

Is anything stressing you out currently?

What are your favorite ways to manage stress?

Yay or nay to lunch dessert? 

Advertisements

How I Deal With Anxious Feelings

I don’t know about youuu, but I’m feeling twenty-twoooo….

…mosquito bites.

I counted twenty-two mosquito bites on my legs thanks to an evening session of frisbee golf on Saturday (worth it). I used to never get bitten (mostly in my ED phase, perhaps because I had low blood sugar?).

DSC_1759

looking slightly diseased

Since I was unaccustomed to so many bites, I Google searched what to do with the itchiness and found some good suggestions: aloe, rubbing alcohol, and oatmeal. I also found some questionable “cures”, like Scotch taping your mosquito bites at night to prevent subconscious scratching. I mean, I get the idea, but I think I would subconsciously rage over the fact that there were little pieces of tape all over me.

Anyway, yesterday was a MONDAY kind of Monday, especially coming home late from a few days of vacation in St. Louis. A long list of errands needed to be completed on minimal sleep, although a couple mini naps happened in order to tame the beast that is Alison Sans Sleep.

tumblr_inline_mm6ra2NdIQ1qz4rgp

[source]

It’s no surprise that I have a greater tendency to feel anxious and stressed when I’m very sleepy; I think most people can vouch for that. The anxious feelings* and stress escalate when I know I have a bunch of time-sensitive tasks on my to-do list.

2015-02-25-stress-thumb

[source]

After dealing with insomnia* during my senior year of high school— perhaps the most stressful time of my life— I’ve learned how to reign in the anxious feelings and deal with stress in a more mature, effective manner (i.e. not bawling my eyes out in a panic at night).

So today, I’m sharing with you how I deal with some of those anxious feelings that threaten to interrupt my daily flow, productivity, and joy.

*I use the term “anxious feelings” rather than “anxiety” because I have not been diagnosed with clinical anxiety. I’ve also never been diagnosed with insomnia. All I know is that I couldn’t sleep for an extended period of time, which impacted my daily life for a while. Since I have no clinical diagnoses and since God blessed everyone with different brains, I understand that these tips may not be helpful for everyone or even anyone.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 10.12.51 PM

1. Tell myself that it’s okay to feel anxious.

Nine times out of ten, my anxious feelings perpetuate because I am nervous to feel anxious or tired. My brain tends to create catastrophes out of small trials or signs of negative health.

“I NEED to get a lot of sleep. I’m not going to live as long if I don’t. My performance will plummet if I don’t fall asleep now. This isn’t okay.” 

“Stress will kill me. I need to stop being so stressed. Why am I feeling so stressed? I’m trying really hard to reduce my stress.”

Answer: It happens. This too shall pass.

2. Make a to-do list of many little things.

Write every little detail down in your to-do list. This may seem counter-intuitive, since your to-do list will look longer, but being able to check off several little tasks is a big morale booster for me.

IMG_4535-300x210

[source]

Always.

For example: Rather than writing “clean bathroom” on your list, you could break that down into “clean toilet, clean bathtub, clean sinks, clean floors.” That way, each item on your list is a small and doable task. This strategy can make a monster project seem less daunting.

3. Make humorous commentary about what’s happening.

(Edited to add this one!) 

Whenever it seems that more stressors are arising, sometimes I just need to laugh at myself and just make lighthearted commentary about all the things that are stressing me out. It’s the same idea as making humorous commentary when watching a scary movie to decrease the fear factor. 🙂

3c83c1da14dae7f2a0389dc940ccad36

[source]

4. Move (and groove).

It doesn’t have to be a grand workout or anything.

I didn’t include a solo dance party in my day in the life vlog just for comedic effect. I truly do love blasting tunes and dancing to keep me smiling. Some quick yoga or inversions to get the blood flowing in all sorts of directions helps to clear the head as well.

IMG_7188

5. Talk to someone.

The power of a listening ear is such a blessing. And if no one is available, I talk out loud to myself or to God. Hearing myself sort out my anxious feelings can help me understand them better.

6. Nap.

Naps are magical if time permits. Even if time doesn’t seem to permit, sometimes I allow myself a quick one anyway, because it will help me be more productive and less crabby for the sake of others.

If I can’t sleep, lying horizontally with my eyes closed for ten minutes can still bring me some sanity.

7. Make a mental gratitude list.

“Be grateful for what you have, and you’ll end up having more.” (<— from this amazing blog post via Marc and Angel)

IMG_7156

Gratitude helps eliminate any of the “woe is me” thoughts.

8. Remember Him.

The #1 thing that gets me through anxious feelings (or any negative feelings, for that matter) is remembering that my life belongs to God. He will provide, and He will not give us trials that we cannot overcome with His help.

There is nothing that I’m feeling that our Lord Jesus Christ has not felt.

_____________________________________________

With that, I hope you all have a day free from anxious feelings! Stay tuned for a cool blog switcheroo tomorrow with Actively Gemma!

So tell me:

Do you deal with anxiety or anxious feelings often? How do you deal?

Do you know any good mosquito bite treatments?

Taking Advantage of Silence

I spent about four hours total in the car yesterday.

I drove my uncle to the airport, and let’s just say that I was {safely!} able to eat my lunch while sitting in traffic on the way back. Driving to the airport = 1 hour. Driving from airport to internship = 2 hours.

DSC_1471

packed this avocado, double egg, sriracha sandwich to go + salad in a tupperware

Then I drove home at rush hour = 1 hour. While no one is a fan of traffic, I actually strangely enjoyed the alone time. Who gets 4 hours of alone time these days when you really can’t do anything but sit with your thoughts?

As much as I want to blast music the whole time when I’m in the car (especially when THIS Tori Kelly song just comes out!!!), I think it’s important to take advantage of silence. Time to listen to your thoughts in our busy society is sort of a privilege, don’t you think?

I like to talk out loud, even when I’m by myself (hence vlogging), so I’ve been into talking to God as if I’m having a conversation with a good friend. That may sound weird, I get it, but He lends a great ear 🙂 Doing so allows me to sort out any of my anxieties, joys, fears, excitements, questions, or frustrations with the driver who just cut me off.

If you have some time for silence, whether that be in the car or in the morning, make it your own.

  • Make a single mini goal for the day.
  • Reflect on a quote or inspirational story/blog post you read recently. How can you implement the lessons/ideas in your own life?
  • List the things for which you are grateful.
  • Choose one person you love, who you might be a little frustrated with at the time, and think about the qualities you love in him/her and the good memories you’ve had with that person.
  • Crank out some new ideas for your home, cooking, blog, etc.
  • Think about people who you haven’t talked to in a while.
  • Pick one thing that you need to improve (for me— punctuality) and analyze ways in which you can go about improving.

…and the list goes on. It’s incredibly easy to default to noise, because silence can be boring and uncomfortable when our minds know that there are so many things we could be doing. Trust me, I still itch to turn on the radio. But consciously taking advantage of silence can make a positive difference in your day. It certainly has for me!

___________

Other notes for the day:

The fish bone ordeal is somewhat under control, I think. My eustachian tube is definitely still feeling wonky and like there’s something around that area, but nothing hurts much at all anymore. I don’t think there’s a little fish bone hangin’ out either. I’m just going to wait it out and see if the discomfort disappears.

Speaking of fish, I made tuna cakes last night, which very much embodied the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

DSC_1473

tuna “cakes”…

These were tasty though!

Ingredients: Canned tuna, onions, garlic, a little bit of leftover brown rice, cilantro, paprika, cumin, mustard, black pepper, Greek yogurt, lime juice and zest, honey, and a couple eggs.

Directions and measurements: Throw some amount of everything into a bowl. Form into patties and pan fry. Hope for the best.

The first few were more like tuna hashes, but the last batches turned out a little prettier.

DSC_1475

As pretty as tuna cakes can get, that is.

And lastly, I ate a good ol’ favorite last night!

DSC_1480

Dried figs and Greek yogurt! If you’ve been reading for a while, you might remember how often I used to eat this pair. Like, obsessively.

Alrighty, it is past my bedtime as I type this. I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! Embrace the silence.

So tell me:

If you have a long commute, how do you fill the time?

What do you do/would you do with a little bit of silence in your day?

What did you eat for dinner last night?

Keeping Sane in College

I know, I know. I’m just a college freshman who is three-and-a-half weeks into school and doesn’t know the real meaning of insanity of college. I get it, I’m still a fetus in this place we call the world. But I think I’m speaking on behalf of a lot of my peers when I say that things are finally starting to settle into a routine— we’re getting into a groove, you could say. 🙂

Needless to say, going off to college for the first time ever is a nerve-wracking experience, and anything that entails big changes can make me anxious pretty easily. However, I am grateful to God for providing such a welcoming, supportive environment for me here at Boston University that has allowed me to immerse myself into this whole university deal without major troubleshooting. Knock on wood.

I’ve noticed some routines and patterns in these past 3.5 weeks that have helped me stay sane during school, and I’m here to share them with you all! Many of you are not in school anymore, but the “real world” and the college world both involve work and balance, so these little tips could apply to anyone!

keeping sane in college

1) Chip away at work

This one is HUGE. No one enjoys the panic of doing an assignment at the last minute before it’s due. For me, the best thing to combat this is to steadily chip away at every bit of studying and homework that I need to do throughout the week.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

 

I like to make a list of the work I need to accomplish, and then prioritize by numbering the tasks in the order I want to do them. Lastly, a check box is necessary so that you can have that oh-so-wonderful feeling of checking off the task.

It also doesn’t hurt to do an extra task that wasn’t initially on your list, then write it in your planner, and then check it off. 😉

2) Eat a good breakfast

{That involves peanut butter.} I don’t care what new scientific research says about breakfast not really being the most important meal of the day. In my mind (and heart), breakfast is the most essential meal in getting my day cranking properly. I have a huge 3-4 hour block of early classes on many days, so I need a substantial breakfast to help me focus and stay friendly.

picstitch copy 4

America runs on Dunkin. Alison runs on peanut butter.

3) Sleep

It’s not always easy, but it’s absolutely necessary.

That being said, I try not to freak out if I didn’t get X hours of sleep, because that just makes me more anxious and prone to sleeplessness. Fatigue is not the end of the world and power naps make the world go ’round.

4) Exercise

Now I’m starting to sound so cliche-healthy-living-blogger. But seriously, making time to move and groove several times a week helps to clear my mind, keep my confidence lifted, and feel more focused on my work, even if that means doing burpees in the dorm room. Y’all know how much I love that anyway.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Sorta miss these stairs. Or do I?

5) Make time for social events

I do my best to make studying my priority, but attending extracurricular activities or just having lunch with friends keeps me laughing and motivated (I work more efficiently when I know I have an event to attend later in the evening). I still don’t go to every single activity or meeting, but talking to people is some of the best stress relief out there.

1794527_800349736654852_7092296365968571520_n

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

I can’t keep my mouth closed evidently.

6) Listen to music

There’s a lot of walking required to get around campus, so listening to music has been an awesome way to put some pep into my step, make me want to dance…and make me almost trip over train tracks. Worth it. Listening to a song with a solid beat while walking down the streets of Boston makes me feel like a BOSS.

{iTunes radio and Pandora have been my favorite things recently!}

7) Pray

Talking to our Creator is the bestest.

8) Read blogs/Blog

Both blog-reading and blogging have been on the back burner recently, as you might have been able to tell. But those two things constitute some of my quality “me time,” so I try to read a few blogs while eating meals and write a post or two after I finish my homework (like right now!). It makes me happy staying in touch with my readers and fellow bloggers!

I also like to fantasize about all the new fall recipes that are abounding on the blog world since I’m bitter that I don’t have a kitchen right now it will be soon that I can make ALL THE PUMPKIN THINGS!

9) Keep the dorm room clean

Laundry, cleaning up after my peanut butter/banana messes, vacuuming (YUP, vacuuming!), and washing dishes— keeping on top of all of that makes for less clutter in the room and less clutter in my mind. (<— wow, so zen.)

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Not nearly as clean as this (when I first moved in), but it’s not too shabby.

10) Keep in touch with my family

My face lights up whenever I get a text from my mom or I FaceTime with my parents. Keeping them in the loop on a regular basis also helps to motivate me (they’re the reason I’m here!), and it helps me remember that I always have a shoulder to lean on. I also just love them to pieces, so I like talking to them 🙂

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

No, we’re not twins.

So there are my nuggets of freshman wisdom for you! I should go to bed because I’m sure my typing might be annoying my sleeping roomie. Catcha ya later!

Oh, and you best be sure I’m thinking out loud with Amanda today!

Thinking-Out-Loud

So tell me:

How do you keep sane?

Most important meal in your opinion?

 

Boston-Bound + Fascinating Friday Links #41

I’ll try not to be dramatic…

…But this is the last post I’m posting from my New York home before I go to Boston. From now until Thanksgiving, I’ll be posting from college— sometimes via ethernet cord, sometimes from a library, often when I’m procrastinating work. YAY!

I’m moving in on Monday, but I actually don’t start classes until September 2nd. Next week I’m participating in a volunteer program for freshmen called FYSOP➔ First Year Student Outreach Project. It’s an optional program during which you get to volunteer in a certain focus area with some of the current Boston University students and of course, fellow first-year students.

My roommate and I are both doing the “Hunger” focus area (hmmmm…wonder why I chose something relating to food), which explains the #NOMaste I posted at the end of this week’s WIAW. They want us to use that hashtag along with #KungFoodFighting on social media. I love these people already!

So that’s what I’ll be doing this coming week. I’ll do my very best to update you all on what I’m doing and eating sometime! If you don’t hear from me though, you’ll know what’s happening.

Alrighty! I’ll catch ya on the flip side, but in the meantime, check out some of these awesome links from the blog world!

Since there is a slim chance I will be doing these Fascinating Friday Links every week from now on, I’m making this week’s roundup slightly longer! (I also just found a ton of great links I needed to share with you all.)

fascinating friday links

Health and Fitness

[Assess your workouts] Top 5 Reasons Your Workout Isn’t Working via Eating Bird Food

[Drastic restriction just does not end well] This is What Dieting Does To Your Body via Better With Sprinkles

[Drop it lowwww] 40 Squat Variations You Need to Try via Greatist

[Core strength is essential] 5 Core Exercises That Will Take Your Adventures to the Next Level via Sierra Social Hub + Your Trainer Paige

[For mind and body] 6 Easy Ways to Be Healthier via I Heart Vegetables

[We all wonder this at some point] WTF Does It Really Mean to “Listen to Your Body?” via Greatist

[Move and groove] 30 Minute Dumbbell Workout via Your Trainer Paige + Dumbbell Circuit Workout with 10 Min. HIIT via Fit Foodie Finds + Cardio Core Circuit via Run Pretty

Food for Thought

[“Yes” isn’t always good for us] The Small But Soul-Crushing Word You Use Every Day via Goins Writer

[Life.] 25 Things to Remember When Life Gets Tough via Marc and Angel Hack Life

[You absolutely cannot judge a book by its cover] Rethink Homelessness via LifeBuzz

[Fitness for life, not looks] Fitness Isn’t About Building a Better Body, It’s About Building a Better Life via Peanut Butter Fingers

[For new moms and dads] 12 Things I’ve Learned in My First Year of Parenting via Sweet Tooth Sweet Life

Food for Belly

[Who wouldn’t like these?] Healthy Cookie Dough Bites via Yeah…Imma Eat That

[Heck yes] Gluten-Free Peach and Oat Pancakes via Cookie and Kate

[Flaaaavor] Garlic Butter Salmon with Caramelized Shallot Relish via How Sweet It Is

[Brunch at its finest] French Toast with Pear Chutney and Mascarpone via Pinch of Yum

[All of it] 9 Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipes That Are Totally Easy to Make via Greatist

Miscellaneous Fun

[So…don’t go to a club?] Admit It: Clubbing is LAME via Youtube

[For real?!] Can You Grow Oats at Home? via Kath Eats Real Food

[Gotta get me some mason jars] Ways To Use Mason Jars in the Kitchen via The Lean Green Bean

[Build a business] How to Grow Your Blog and Make Money via Peanut Butter Fingers

Ta ta for now, folks!