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 πŸ™‚

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 Β―\_(ツ)_/Β― 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?

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 πŸ™‚

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. β™₯︎

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?

I’m a nap supporter.

A lot of people answered on my Instagram story that they do not introduce their friends by their occupation! Now that I think about it, that makes sense to me. Some people told me that they introduce others by how they met, and I think I do that most often too.

One friend also noted that, anecdotally, people in healthcare professions may more often be introduced by their occupation vs. those not in healthcare or at various corporate jobs, for example. I replied in agreement from my own experience, and perhaps it is because healthcare is easy to understand, while many other jobs seem less concrete. Β―\_(ツ)_/Β― Good thoughts, friends!

pray.

These are a couple of the Church’s evening prayers from yesterday:

Creator of all things, your Son desired to work among us with his own hands,
– be mindful of all who earn their living by the sweat of their brow.
May your people praise you, Lord.

Be mindful of those who devote themselves to the service of their brothers,
– do not let them be deterred from their goals by discouraging results or lack of support.
May your people praise you, Lord.

I’m not even WORKING yet, but these prayers gave me a lot of peace, not just for myself but for everyone who is working and grinding away. It’s part of the human experience to labor, deal with people you don’t like, do the mundane things, and do the exciting things in work.

Work is a gift, but work is also hard (spoken from my clinical experiences and summer jobs that I’ve had). Whatever “work” is for you β€” both in and out of the home, both paid and unpaid β€” my prayer for you is that you feel loved and respected in your work and that you feel at peace in it.

Nothing too lengthy today; just a universal affirmation for you.

eat.

I had one small potato that I forgot to bake the last time I made these fries, so I baked it in the toaster oven last night for a 9pm snack. I was a happy gal.

Do you prefer nectarines or peaches?? Because I feel like they’re the same besides the skin. I had a nectarine yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I can’t tell the taste or texture difference from a peach.

this is from 2017, but nectarines haven’t evolved since then

move.

Yesterday’s workout was FUN and longer than usual, but I figure I can fit in some longer workouts these days when I’m not working yet. Usually my workouts are no more than 40 minutes, not including the warmup.

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of:

  • stair sets (I have 30 steps from my basement to top floor)
  • pistol squats each leg
  • thrusters
  • pushup burpees

(example: first round do 10 of each, next round do 9 of each…all the way down to 1 rep of each)

The sets of stairs are what made this quite a long workout. It took me 1 hour to complete and I was pooped afterwards.

groove.

I took a 1-hour nap yesterday. Purely knocked out on the couch when taking a break from some computer work.

I love naps. Some people hate napping because it messes up their nighttime sleep schedule or feel guilty because they feel unproductive, which I can understand.

But I support short-ish naps (mine yesterday was not that short though), because if I can afford one, a nap often makes me a happier person if I’m dragging and also makes my brain physically feel like it has been cleansed (the cerebrospinal fluid does some magic in there).

this is me as an infant waking up from a nap, crying because I was hungry, which is relatable to this day

So tell me:

How are you feeling about your (paid and unpaid) work these days? Cruising? Loving it? Indifferent? Hating it?

Peaches or nectarines? Or are they essentially the same to you?

Do you like napping?

Day in the Life {Third Clinical of DPT School}

Whoopsie, I didn’t mean to duck out of here for so long. No excuses to share!

To get back into the swing of things, I think it’s fine time for another “day in the life” post, given that I am over halfway through my third of four clinicals here in physical therapy school. February is also over halfway over, which is somethin’ to chew on. Lent is coming!!

I am currently working four 10-hour days (Mon-Thurs), and each day looks a little different after I leave work, but here is a typical Monday.

a super close up selfie of me on my very first day of clinical (6 weeks ago)

5:40am β€” Wake up. Kick a leg off the bed, then the other, then (sometimes literally) hit the floor to say a morning offering prayer. Go to the bathroom.

6:00am β€” Make bed, get changed, and put on a small bit of makeup. Get my lunch box packed.

6:15am β€” Leave apartment and walk to a farther train station than necessary to get the blood pumping. I like to breathe in the fresh morning air and say a rosary.

6:40am β€” Arrive at the train station and get on the train.

7:00am β€” Take a shuttle from the train station to work building.

7:15am β€” Arrive at work. Change my upper garments because I always sweat walking to the train station.

7:30am β€” Start pre-charting while eating breakfast. On Mondays, we technically start work at 8:00am, but I like to get there slightly earlier to have more time to chart review and plan for the day.

8:15am β€” The first slot for seeing a patient. Some days it’s filled, others it’s not.

Occasionally, I’ll scarf down a nut bar if we have a free moment and if I’m really hungry between breakfast and lunch.

12:00pm β€” Lunch break! Depending on how many notes I need to write, I’ll either stay in my cubicle documenting while eating lunch or take some time to go down to the cafeteria where there is 10x more light and warmth than in the office.

1:00pm β€” Back to work. Technically, our lunch break is 30 minutes, so half is for actual eating and relaxing. The other half is for documenting.

4:00-5:00 pm β€” Sometime in here I’ll likely have a snack for the final push of the work day.

5:30pm β€” No more patients seen after this time, but time to finish up notes and prepare for the next day!

6:30pm β€” Leave work (if all goes as planned). I’ve been walking from work to the train station instead of waiting for the shuttle, unless it’s already there. It’s another nice way to unwind from work and just enjoy the fresh air (if it’s not raining, that is).

7:00pm β€” Take the train to the gym. Usually I just sit and stare to let my mind rest. Often will say some prayers. Occasionally I’ll listen to a podcast. John suggested I read a book when I’m commuting, which seems obvious, but I have not done it yet!

7:30pm β€” Arrive at the gym, change, and do a quick workout. Usually, since it’s quite late already, I do a warmup + 20 minute HIIT workout.

It’s a victory in and of itself for me to get my butt to the gym after a long day, and that’s coming from someone who likes to work out. Holla at everyone who struggles getting to the gym after a long day of work. The gym does not open early enough for me to go before work… but I doubt I’d go at 5am anyway, even if it was open at that time.

The worst part about the gym at this time of day is that many college students are like me and don’t go to the gym before classes; they go AFTER classes are done for the day. So it’s a mad house. Utter mad house. The beauty of a HIIT workout though is that I need limited space, so I usually gather myself in a corner and get to work.

8:30pm β€” Arrive home and eat dinner! Try to not occupy my mind too much, but maybe FaceTime a friend, maybe text some people.

9:15pm β€” Shower.

9:30pm β€” Pack food for the next day.

10:00pm β€” Soooo…. what I should be doing at this time is winding down, praying, reading, etc. But I often will be texting people or busying myself with pointless things that are unproductive at this hour of the night. But the goal is to be in bed around this time and getting my snooze on.

Recently I’ve been getting to sleep closer to 10:30-10:40pm, for whatever reason. I need to work on cleaning up that nighttime routine, let me tell ya.

That’s about it though! Some variations include bible study on Tuesday nights instead of the gym. Mondays and Wednesdays I start at 8am, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30am. Some nights I get off earlier from work. Wednesdays I’m often tired and don’t make it to the gym. Thursdays I usually try to push through to work out since I have Fridays off. It’s all just a general routine with lots of flexibility, for which I am grateful.

I hope all those who have today off (President’s Day in America) have lots of fun and relaxation! For those like me who are working today, I hope it’s still lots of fun πŸ™‚

So tell me:

What does your daily schedule look like generally?

What do you typically eat for breakfast?

Do you go to the gym before or after work?

Making More Time and Space

Moves.Β 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.Β 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 β€” prayer, relationships, health β€” 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.

IMG_7830

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.Β 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 doingΒ trulyΒ 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 limitsΒ 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?