Keeping up with the gym

Today was one of the days where it would have been really easy for me to not go to the gym. I have a test tomorrow, I was hungry (although I had a snack with me so that helped), I was tired and felt stressed out. It would have been so easy to say never mind and just go home instead of hauling my butt to the gym. Then I forgot my paper with my list of arm exercises and current weights. I went anyway, made some stuff up and adjusted as I went. I am thankful that I went.

There’s almost always an excuse, some reason why I could skip going today. I can always go tomorrow. How many times have you said that to yourself? I said that about running for a long time. Except tomorrow turned into next week. And that became next month and before I knew it, more than a year had gone by. Would running have been helpful during that time? Yes, especially since running gives me a chance to get out frustration and stress. I still skipped the time, justifying the reasons why it would be ok.

So today, I am working on reaffirming the fact that, yes, I need to go. Even when I feel tired or stressed. Maybe especially because I feel stressed. No, that run is not just as good tomorrow. I am committing myself to the fact that I want and need to do this for myself. I am better when I do it. It’s been awhile since I did yoga and I have been using the same excuses. Which is crazy because I have a yoga mat and know enough poses that I can do yoga on my own. Also, I have YouTube and let’s be honest. There are a million places with yoga workouts there. I need to do it.

People around me do the same things, every day. You’ve probably done it once or twice or a few dozen times in the past. We all do it. But we need to remember that the benefits of going and getting it done are well worth the hour we may spend at the gym. The benefits last much longer than that hour and may be responsible for helping us live longer, healthier lives. Persistence will pay off in the end. More importantly, if you have been making excuses, admit it and move on. Go back today and promise to start fresh. Yesterday is the past but we don’t live there. We live in the present and we need to do everything we can in the present moment to make our lives the best they can be. Forgive the mistakes you made and move on. The future is waiting and don’t you want to be the best version of you that you can be when you get there?

Nursing School

First test (figuring it out?)

Last week was my first week of summer classes (first week of eight, I should point out) and my first test (of a whole lot…). The test was on immunity which is a huge subject, to be sure. There was a lot of material to read through. I was really pleased with the grade I got, a 96. I wasn’t sure how well I would do initially because I changed how I was studying a bit. Most people would probably say that was a bad idea because I’ve been doing well so far with my current methods. However, when you have three days of material and a test, there is going to be a LOT of stuff to go through. More than what I really had time to learn completely.

My new method involves focusing in on what’s really important and looking over briefly the stuff that isn’t. But what is the important stuff, you might ask? Well, that part is easy. The important stuff is the details that I would need to know to take care of a patient with this condition. Seems obvious right? Well, let me give you some examples.

We spent a lot of time talking about the various immunoglobulins in the immune system. We were also supposed to know the functions of those immunoglobulins (there are five of them). I will admit that I don’t know the functions of those things. Now, I will go back and look it over again and eventually, I may learn all the functions. But as of right now, all I can tell you is that there are five of them (M, A, D, G, E) and I really only know two details. IgE is involved in allergic reactions and IgM and IgG are the two most common in the immune system. Why didn’t I learn the functions? Easy. It’s not relevant to taking care of the patient having immune system issues. It is good information to know, without a doubt. I want to know the functions, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not needed.

I looked over all my notes and skimmed through the reading and I found the pieces of information that are needed for patient care. I looked at the nursing diagnoses and thought about what kinds of details are important to look for in people with the diagnoses – if a person has inadequate perfusion, what symptoms will they manifest, for example, and how do you help them? And in doing that, I realized something that helped a lot.

I know a lot of this already.

I know, it made me stop suddenly too. I really do know a lot of this though. There are huge pieces that I don’t need to spend time going over again or only need to spend a little time on because they are already in my head. I just need to get them to the front of my brain. Taking care of the patient involves knowing their diagnosis, to some extent but more importantly, it means knowing how to treat their symptoms. It occurred to me that on the floor, often the nurses don’t know the diagnosis. The doctor may not have made one yet. They may have an idea of what’s wrong but sometimes, they’re wrong. They aren’t treating the patient by their diagnosis. They’re treating them based on their symptoms.

We spend a lot of time in class talking about the details of disease processes and those details are important. I am not suggesting they aren’t. In fact, in many cases, I am intrigued and I want to know more. That information could be really useful to both me and the patient. However, in treating the patient, from the nurses’ perspective, the diagnosis is secondary. After all, we don’t diagnose – we aren’t going to be doctors. We treat the symptoms the patient presents with and often, those things overlap.

Now, I have another test Wednesday and we’ll see if this new method of studying proves to be successful again. If not, I’ll have to reassess and see what to do differently. I really didn’t feel like the first test was difficult though and I think that’s telling since there was so much stuff in class. I’ll keep you all updated on the crazy that will be my summer semester (2 classes in eight weeks!). Hopefully come the end of it, there will be a celebration for a few weeks before fall semester starts. Love to you all and if you are in a crazy semester, I am sending you all sorts of good vibes!


Liebster Award

BeaFree has been posting all kinds of blogging questions on her blog and since she always nominates everyone, I figured I’d do one. So, you know, head over to her blog and check it out. She’s awesome.

The rules are as follows:

1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award.
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 11 blogs.
5. Notify those blogs of the nomination.
6. Give them 11 questions to answer.

The questions that she gave were:

  1. Where would you like to visit?

I’ve been to England but that’s pretty much it. I’d like to go see the rest of Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

2. Other than English, can you speak any other languages?

Sadly, no. I can kind of speak bits of French from high school but I was never any good at other languages.

3. Do you prefer to bake or cook?

I’m good with either one, actually.

4. Would you rather go out to eat or stay home and cook?

If I could always find healthy food eating out then I would love to eat out. Sadly, most eat out places are not terribly healthy because of lots of frying and such.

5. Are you good about answering your phone calls, texts and emails or do you often forget?

Texts and emails I usually remember, probably because I have a reminder. Phone calls… well, if you call me you may never hear back and I apologize for that.

6. Are you a country person or a city person?

I have lived in both places and I currently live in a more country area. I don’t mind the woods and like to hike and camp but I am truly a city girl at heart. Boston is my favorite place in the world.

7. What kind of music do you prefer to listen to?

I love Ed Sheeran and Lady Gaga but I also have all of the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync who I also love. However, during a workout I need something really upbeat so I put Pandora on dance music and listen to whatever.

8. What is one of your favorite childhood memories?

We used to go to the beach every summer. I loved that time with my mother and the friends that I met up there. We would play skeeball and wander along that shore collecting shells.

9. Do you have a go to outfit?

Do scrubs count? Probably not. Outside of that, I prefer simply outfits, usually jeans and a t-shirt.

10. Wild night out or stay home and chill?

I’ve had plenty of wild nights out. I don’t think I could handle a wild night at my age.

11. Are you good at bowling?

Not at all.

Nominations: Anybody who wants to answer the questions!

Your questions:

  1. Chocolate or vanilla?
  2. What’s your favorite television show?
  3. What’s your favorite thing about yourself?
  4. Do you like to dance?
  5. If you could learn to do anything that you can’t already do, what would it be?
  6. What is your favorite movie?
  7. What has been your favorite vacation?
  8. Do you have any pets?
  9. What’s your favorite book?
  10. How do you like to spend your free time?
  11. What quote do you live by?
Life, Minimalism

Maintaining minimalism

That title is a mouthful, for sure. It is nearly June and therefore, almost six months since I began this journey of decluttering in earnest. In that time, I have gotten rid of a LOT of stuff. I’ve made numerous trips to various donation places and thrown away all kinds of garbage. I’ve eliminated dozens of storage boxes and found room in my house that I didn’t know was there. There are still places to work on but now I’m working in small pieces instead of huge chunks. The things I get rid of are things that are simply not getting used like I thought they were. I am better able to see that now that there is space and I can see all of my things. There are projects that I want to undertake in my house to make storage spaces that fit my things without it turning into places to accumulate things. It is a process and I keep working at it everyday.

Now, however, the bigger task is maintaining the minimalism. Keeping the clutter from reacquiring. That task is more daunting than you would think, somehow. I have set the goal of not spending every week for a month. I keep failing at making it through a whole week. It may be that I need to redefine how I am categorizing things but I don’t want to make excuses for purchases that I make. So I am trying to figure out what’s going on here. I don’t need more things. I feel like I’ve done a good job not getting things for me (although, I will admit to buying a t-shirt today that I adore and can’t wait until I get it in my possession). This is not to say I haven’t bought anything for me – I have bought journaling supplies. A greatly reduced number for sure though.

So my victories: I haven’t bought any new makeup. I bought a blush and a mascara to replace ones that I used up which was fair. I haven’t bought any more art supplies (I am separating this from journal supplies because I mean my actual art supplies – paint and colored pencils, etc). I haven’t bought any physical movies (although, I have bought several episodes of CHiPs on Amazon as I finish episodes). I also haven’t bought any more books although I’ve seen several that I want to read. Those were my main source of spending before, so I am proud of what I have managed to do there.

My failures: Journal supplies. I bought some stickers. I don’t need more stickers. I bought some anyway. I also bought some washi tape, which I also didn’t need. I tend to buy my kids stuff a lot. This is partially because they ask for stuff constantly but I don’t need to give in as often as I do. I am working on this. In a semi-failure vein, I have bought some nicer things to replace older things. This would include a couple of bras, some pants (also because I lost so much weight the ones I had didn’t fit anymore) and a pair of sneakers. These are things that I didn’t necessarily need to have right now but did need to be replaced because they were really old. My sneakers are especially important because I run and it’s harder on your body to run in old shoes. I did buy the new ones on clearance (I almost always do though) so it wasn’t an incredibly pricey purchase.

I know it’s progress. Before I would have been stuffing things into boxes and then getting more boxes to make everything fit. Now, I’m working with the space I have. I am not getting any more boxes because I don’t need more. I need less things. This is an important distinction. I am also trying to work on food. I keep ending up with to much stuff in the pantry. I’m trying to find the line between enough and to much. This is a trickier balance than I anticipated and I’m working on it. Every week I get a little better at it. I’m also better with it when I a) menu plan (even when my planning sometimes fails) and b) sticking to my list. I’ve gotten a little lax about the list lately. I am going to rededicate myself to it.

And now, I am going to study a little more. I have my first test tomorrow. I am doing well with this material (I think) but I also have my daughter’s Girl Scout bridging tonight, so I have less time to study. Until tomorrow, party on! 😉

Fitness, Healthy Eating

Meal Plan (or even the best plans go awry)

So, I planned out my meals for the week, like I do every week. This system normally serves me very well. Except today, not so much. What went wrong? Well, honestly, I need to plan better. My class schedule caused a change in when I get to the gym each day. This by itself is not a problem. I simply go after class instead of before. I don’t mind going after class. However, the past two days have shown me that if I am going to continue to do that (and I will for the next few weeks) I need to plan for that.

My mornings look something like this:

5:45 am: get up, wash face, meds, get dressed (yes, this is done in 15 minutes)

6:00 am: make breakfast (usually oatmeal or eggs of some kind)

6:20 am: get kids up, fed, dressed, ready for school

7:00 am: go to bus stop

7:30 am: head to school

8:30 am: class starts

12:00 pm: class ends, then gym

You will notice something about this scenario that is a problem. I eat at 6am and I don’t eat again after that. I drink water. Generally, I don’t feel hungry by the time class ends. I have enough energy to sustain going to the gym but I don’t think it’s a good situation to not eat until after I leave the gym, which is usually close to 2. That’s what happened today. I left and I was starving. I ended up going to Moe’s, which was not the best option but was on my way to pick up the kids and was a better option than McDonalds. Also, I had planned to make tacos for dinner tonight. Oops.

I modified dinner and still fed everyone (I ate carrots because I wasn’t really hungry but felt I should eat something because I still have 200 calories to eat (well, 150 after the carrots). And after talking to the nutritionist at the gym, I should probably be eating a bit more than what I am.

So the end result is I need to make sure that I bring food to eat during class so that I have enough energy to lift, run and not feel like dying later in the day. Meal planning is great but it’s becoming apparent to me that I need to plan more of my meals or at least give significant thought to what my day looks like so I have access to enough healthy food. This is a new challenge for me. Before I started this, I would have simply grabbed something to eat at a fast food place and not worried about anything. I also probably wouldn’t have gone to the gym after class but I digress. I need to keep in mind that I need healthy food access with me when my day is a little crunched.

As an aside, I am going to be participating in a virtual half marathon (though, I won’t be doing all 13.1 miles at once) and I am considering doing a 5K that’s coming up next town over. The 5K I’ve done before and it’s pretty flat which is nice but I haven’t run a 5K in years at this point. I did run a 5K distance today because I wanted to be sure that I could (I can) and that had lifted my spirits that I can do it again. Also, since it’s not on a weekend (it’s a Friday night) I can do it without worrying about work schedules. This is always a good thing. I still haven’t decided yet but I will let you all know if I decide to give it a go and see what an official time would be for a 5K now (it was close to 30 minutes before I stopped running and I don’t expect it to be that good).

So that’s my advice for you all today. Think about your eating schedule each day. When do you need to eat? How much? Will you be able to have access to healthy food out and about? What can you do to fix that problem? Sometimes we need to think ahead. I certainly do! Until next time, keep at it!


Nursing School

First day back

Today, my classmates and I officially became senior nursing students. It’s a little odd to go from freshman to senior but when you’re in a two year program, it’s what happens. I was glad to be back because the waiting just makes me apprehensive. I get more nervous thinking about all the possibilities and the what-ifs that could happen. Then I get into class and it’s never as bad as I thought. This semester is also an adjustment for me because for the first two semesters of our program, we’ve had the same teachers. I got used to how they taught and got comfortable with their testing and lecture styles. Now, there are new teachers that I’ve not had before. That makes me uncomfortable, although to be fair, our first teacher is someone we’ve had before. I also love her, which helps. A lot.

The new material is a mixed bag, I think. Some of this may not be as hard as I thought while other pieces may be much more difficult. It remains to be seen what that will mean for my test grades. Several times already, the things I enjoyed the most and thought I understood well were areas that I struggled with on tests. That frustrates me but I have decided to not stress about that and simply learn what I can and move on. I continue to learn and fix errors that I made before and I think that’s one of the most important parts.

I had a smile this weekend at work because several of the people I work with are getting ready to start a nursing program. I remember that feeling all to well. Seeing others stress about it, trying to get all their paperwork in order and wondering what it’s really going to be like makes me feel better about where I am. I kept reminding them that they’ll do ok if they just keep working at it. Purposefully moving forward. That might be my new mantra for the semester. Moving forward. I need to decorate my notebook with my motivational quotes.

I put a sticker on the front of my bullet journal to remind myself to not stress to much – Positive Mind, Positive Vibes, Positive Life. Last semester I really saw a difference in how I felt when I stopped stressing and just kept reminding myself that I could do this and I was doing the best I could.

So if you’re starting a new semester or a new part of your life, try to remember that. Keep working, as hard as you can and you will eventually get there.

“I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more luck I have.” -Coleman Cox

Fitness, Life

Yoga for stress relief

Sometimes you just need some way to get out the stress. When I have the chance to run that’s a wonderful way to decrease the stress. Unfortunately, sometimes leaving the house for a run isn’t an option. It may be too hot or it may be storming. On occasion it’s actually too cold. When those things happen, I need an alternative. I’ve tried a lot of things but there are really only two that work. I’ll discuss the other one at another time. Today I’m going to talk about yoga.

I started doing yoga in January as a way to try and tone muscle. It works well for that. It’s also caused me to become more flexible and allowed me to listen to my body in a way that’s resulted in a developed sense of what is to much, just enough and not enough when it comes to effort. All of those things has been useful to me in my fitness journey. Especially listening to your body and learning what it can do and what is beyond your limit.

However, most importantly, yoga has given me the skills to relieve stress. It sounds a little silly because it’s exercise. Most people simply view it as a path to fitness. It goes deeper than that though. When you truly start to practice yoga, you listen to your breath. You learn to sync your breath to your body movements and different ways of breathing. You learn how to meditate in some practices. A good yoga session ends with a savasanna (which may not be spelled right), which is essentially a mini-meditation. Those skills have been crucial in allowing me to relax in moments of great stress.

When I’m at home, I can do a yoga practice on my mat, obviously. When I go out into the real world and can’t just start doing yoga (like during a test) I can still use calming breaths to relax myself. I can even take a moment to close my eyes and relax a little further. Those moments are great because it’s like a mini break for my brain. That is the best gift that I can get. Some of the situations that I’m in are high stress and being able to calm down in those moments is critical.

Learning stress relief is crucial for mental health. Otherwise I end up overwhelmed (and you probably do too) and when that happens, I can’t function as well and I can’t think as well. If you have a high stress situation that you need to deal with, I suggest yoga. I also recommend it if you have test anxiety. The ability to calm your brain could help (and it definitely can’t hurt!). Today is a short one lovely people. Consider a new way to relax, if you haven’t. Maybe you too start with fitness as the ultimate goal. I bet you’ll learn something new though. Until next time!