Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pocket Filler

Ok so I dumped out my purse for this challenge because I didn't have any pockets. And to be honest even when I do have pockets the only thing I carry are keys or my phone.

My favorite part are the headphones. They're a little wobbly, but curly and fun.

This and hopefully many more posts brought to you as part of my new year's project, Wrecking this Journal.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

2014 Running

At about this time last year I got invited to participate in a 5k Zombie Mud run. For the first time in my life I paid for an app on my phone (Zombies, Run!) and started training. And after a few weeks I got to run my first 5k with some of my favorite people.

And then I stopped running. Because you know it was hot, grad school started, and life happened. I found other ways to stay moderately active like participating in a yoga class my first semester and then branching out to LesMills Body Pump and CXWORX classes this semester, but I never managed to start running again.

Until today.

 A few of my friends ran in a local half marathon and I wanted to cheer them on. Even though last night was a difficult duty night (I had two trips to the hospital for three different students, but thankfully everyone was fine in the end) I found myself on the sidelines at 9:00 this morning. I should have been exhausted, but the crowd had me feeling pumped up. I jumped and cheered for my friends and kept thinking about how much fun it would be to run another race.

Turns out I missed running. So I got home, put on my sneakers, and went for my first run of 2014.

 What gets you motivated?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

This Is a Sign

You know those inspirational magnets that say things like, "Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself" and "I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday." Well today's Wreck this Journal page gave me the opportunity to create my own. What do you think?

The "you are not perfect" piece is intentional and important to me. I find I can be one if those people who mistakenly believes in the myth of perfection. First, that it can exist. Second, that it is achievable if only I diligently apply myself.

Perfect is a prison. It's a way to measure failure, not success. So my sign is about defining my self worth in other terms.

Anyone else a fan if tossing out the word perfect?

This and hopefully many more posts brought to you as part of my new year's project, Wrecking this Journal.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April is Stress Awareness Month

I'm a positivity nerd. I just got back from a Student Affairs conference where I went to three separate sessions that focused on incorporating positive psychology into your work. I geeked out over the keynote speaker BrenĂ© Brown because I was so thrilled to see her in person. I've read The Happiness Project, watched Shawn Achor's TED talk (and BrenĂ© Brown's too), and I started using the Happier app last month to immerse myself in a positive community. I haven't started a #100HappyDays project yet, but you better believe I will (summer 2014 or bust!). So knowing that April is National Stress Awareness Month I thought, "hmmm, what do I want to do to de-stress and inspire others to do the same?" 

As a graduate students there is a lot my peers and I can be stressed about. And as a Student Affairs professional I not only want advise students so that they can lead healthier lives, I also want to model healthy behavior too. This year I've been very intentional about my positivity (I cofounded a group at my university called Positivity Coffee) and I've been intentional about dealing with stress in positive ways. I've learned a few stress reduction strategies that work for me, so in April I'm going to share one and commit to practicing every day. This stress buster may be familiar, it's called meditation.

Photo credit: Stop, Breathe & Think
I've committed to meditating every day in April and sharing those meditations on my Facebook page. I use an app on my iPhone called Stop, Breathe & Think which gives me the opportunity to "check-in" by describing how I'm feeling mentally and physically. Then the app suggests three possible guided meditations for me to choose from and off I go.

I have never had a meditation habit before, but the meditations are three to nine minutes. For a month I know I can find at least three minutes each day to grab my phone, park it on the couch (or on the bathroom floor), and listen to a meditation.

As of this writing I've been doing meditation for five days. I love it.  I'm hooked. I'm really excited to make this a regular habit. And (warning: small brag is on the way) I've been successful!

Photo credit: Stop, Breathe & Think
This app gives you stickers, just like the one above, to recognize your progress as you build a meditation habit. I won't spoil them all for you, but the sticker above is for being an early riser. Here comes the part where I explain the bathroom floor comment above.

April 1st, when I committed to meditating for the entire month, I was away at a Student Affairs conference. The days started at about 8:00 AM when I went to my first session and ended at  about 10:00 PM when I got back from a social. That doesn't leave a lot of time for meditation and one morning I found myself sitting on the floor in the bathroom at 6:30 AM while my roommates were still in bed. I decided to meditate on the floor of my hotel bathroom before getting ready for the day or grabbing a cup of coffee. Did I laugh at myself a little for sitting on the floor? Yes. Did I feel a bit like a fool? Yes! But I was in a good mood to start that early day and it was worth it.

You don't have to be a positivity nerd like me to enjoy meditation or reap it's rewards. There are plenty of studies on it's effectiveness so if guided meditation is offered nearby, you've got access to an app, or you just want to check a guided meditation CD out of your local library I highly suggest it.

“Research has proven that mindfulness training integrates the brain and strengthens the important executive functions that support emotional and social intelligence as well as academic success.”
-Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. & Clinical Professor, Author of Mindsight and forthcoming Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain.