Sunday, June 30, 2013

gentle ways to take care of yourself when you’re busy busy busy

We all have times in our lives when we just have too much stuff going on. There are always deadlines, exams, due dates and just too many priorities to juggle. And when everything is going wrong, the world is screaming for your attention and you just don’t have time – the last thing you need to hear is to “just take a day off”. So here are 44 gentle ways you can take care of yourself when you’re pressed for time and attention. Enjoy! 
Say no to anything that is not important to you
Laundry, phone calls, demanding friends – this is not the time to be nice and “responsible”. Give yourself the permission to focus on what’s important at that very moment. Getting the unessential responsibilities off your schedule will not only create some extra time and space, it will also lighten the burden you’re feeling and help you keep up with it.
Ask for help
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and you’ll quickly learn that most people around you actually love to be asked! It makes them feel useful and important. What usually helps the most is to get help to do the normal things; cooking, shopping and regular every-day tasks. However, don’t underestimate how important the people in your life can be when it comes to feedback, motivation and supporting your self-confidence regarding the work you’re doing.
Get enough sleep
An oldie, but a goodie. This old advice is not only essential when it comes to self-care, it is also absolutely essential when it comes to being able to do your best. Particularly important when it comes to exam periods and work stress, sleep will help you achieve. It’s easy to think that a few extra hours of work will do you more good, but it won’t. Sleep will.
Drink tea and water
Coffee will only get you that far, before it sends you down into tiredness again. While still being hot and comforting, tea and water won’t make you dehydrated and shaky. If you’re feeling tired and think you need a caffeine boost, go for cold water instead. Cold water will help wake you up! A good trick I found to help keep your water cool: put about an inch of water into your water bottle and freeze it. As soon as you are ready, instant iced water!
Listen to your favorite music
Calm music will help you calm down and upbeat music will help you up your game. Pick music that won’t distract you - for some people that means no lyrics. My sister favors movie scores, while I like Broadway musicals. Your favorite music will boost your mood and keep you happy, no matter how tired you are.
Eat healthy and green food
I know it’s tempting to order pizza, but it really pays off to take your time to cook and eat nutritious and healthy food. Not only will it help you achieve better, it will also boost your mood! Yet another perk of Pinterest, you have endless recipes at your fingertips. My sister and I keep the granola bars and oranges well stocked.
Take 5 minutes in the morning to just stretch and breathe
If you start your day in a stressful way, you’ll probably feel stressed for the rest of the day as well. Start your morning with 5 minutes of silence and ease. Do some yoga - and you can use either relaxing music or pump up music. Starting the day in a way like this will make you more relaxed as well!
You might be busy and think that every minute is valuable time to put into your work, but some extra minutes of walking might be a better way to spend some time. Not only will the exercise be good for you, you also get some important fresh air and daylight. Fresh air and sunshine are a natural boost.
Take 5-minute mini-breaks every hour
You can’t stay focused all the time. No matter how efficient you work, you’ll always get distracted, let your mind wander or end up spending time reading e-mail (and blogs) instead. A better way to spend this time is to get up from your chair, walk outside and take a 5-minute break. The change of place, the change of physical posture and the movement will make it easier to start again when your break is over. You’ll also give your brain a chance to relax and process information.
Break your self-care habits into smaller tasks and do one each day
No need to look like you’re constantly running after your life, even if you are! I always take the time to at least put on mascara, and, most of the time, eyeliner. I also never sit around in sweats. Being put together helps me feel more together. Shave your legs one day, paint your nails the next day, wash your hair the day after, etc. This approach also works with keeping the apartment tidy – just do one little chore every day and you’ll stay on top of everything more easily.
Make a plan of everything that needs to be done
Instead of juggling all your to-do’s and must-remember’s, write them down on a piece of paper. I use my planner religiously. Then make a plan of how you are going to manage everything before your deadline. Make sure you stick to the plan, every single day. Don’t fall for the temptation to start on tomorrow’s tasks today, trust that the plan will take you there, and enjoy some free time on the days when you finish your tasks early.
Make sure you keep in touch with your friends
Just a few text messages, tweets or the occasional coffee will make sure your friendships don’t suffer. You will feel much better when you focus on something else entirely, and it will prevent you from becoming a workaholic hermit. You don’t have to keep in touch with everybody, most people will understand that you’re busy. Just make sure you stay in touch with the people that make you happy and inspired.
Make room for rest
This one’s important. Make sure that whenever you plan to rest – really rest. That means that you will have to make a conscious effort to push all work-related thoughts and worries away. 
Spend your lunchtime as sacred you-time
… and enjoy your healthy food with a little journaling, blog-reading, or people-watching. It’s important to eat, but it’s equally important to be inspired, creative, silly, whimsical and happy.
Take a run or a long walk
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Any sort of exercise will release endorphins, your body will thank you and it clears your head so you can focus on all the important work that lies ahead.
Keep a planner
To make your life less chaotic, it’s a good practice to keep a planner. Make sure you write down every single appointment, to save yourself from unwanted surprises and missed meetings. Just remember to schedule time for yourself. Honor your appointment with yourself just as much as you would keep an appointment with anyone else.
Keep track of your achievements
It may seem like you’re never going to get over a busy period, which is why you should keep a list of achievements close at any time.Whenever you hit a milestone – write it down! It will be very useful when you’re feeling tired by the end of the day and know that you still have several more hours of work before you can call it a day.
Wear your pretty clothes
… and be busy with style! If you dress nicely, chances are you’ll feel better too. All it takes is 5 minutes in the morning, and with your most powerful, wonderful and pretty clothes on, you’ll feel like a million for the rest of the day.
…Or do some yoga at home. Even ten minutes of stretching is better than nothing, and will recharge your batteries (and your mind).
Take a hot bath
Nothing helps you relax like a hot bath. Use your favourite bubbles, turn off the light, light some candles and you’re good to go. One hour in the bath in the evening may be the best way to relax because of this simple fact: you can’t take your work and your computer with you.
Light candles
Candles have a relaxing effect. If you can’t light candles in your workplace, make sure you light them when you get home.They are just soothing, even sitting around your laptop with an essay up on the screen.
Have an "emotional emergency plan"
Ideally, you should have this figured out before you enter a really busy period. If everything goes wrong, and you’re maxed out, panicky or just plain exhausted – who do you call? what do you do? where do you go?
Do I need to say more? When stress builds up, take five seconds off and just breathe. Deep.
Do something silly
Don’t forget to have fun! Who said you can’t laugh, even though you’re busy! Make jokes, engage with you friends, read comics and just allow yourself to be silly for a little while. I promise it will boost your mood and a little laughter every day will help you through a really challenging time.
Now is not the time to play superwoman. Be nice to yourself and let your brain tackle one task at a time. Rumor has it that this is more productive in the long run…
Take the last evening off
The last night before your big D(r)eadline is the night to relax. Panicking in the last minute isn’t a very good way of taking care of yourself. And you don’t want to oversleep on your exam day, have dark circles under your eyes on presentation day because you spent the last night cramming. Take the last evening off and relax. You’ve done your best, there’s nothing more you can do.
Keep a tidy workspace
It will make you more focused, relaxed and less overwhelmed.
Create some routines
When work or studies take all your focus, it can be useful to create some new habits or routines to take some of the burden off your back. Make it a habit to cook a larger batch of dinner on day 1, and eat leftovers for the next two days. Use Sundays to prepare what to wear for the next couple of days. Wear your hair in a ponytail five days in a row. This is not the time to expect yourself to find lots of different and exciting outfits, hairdo’s or recipes.
Write things down
When you’re mind is working over-time, let it relax by helping yourself remember everything. Write down any ideas, to-do’s, must-remember’s and other things you have to remember. This way, you don’t have to carry the additional stress of remembering everything you need to remember.
Accept a little clutter and mess
Just let it be. Some dust and a little dirt has never hurt anyone. Focus on what’s important to you, you can always clean up the mess later. Just don’t go around and feel bad about it on top of everything else!
Allow your emotions to come to the surface
If you’re tired and sad, cry it all out. If you’re stressed, don’t try to put on a mask and hide it. Get it all out, all the frustration, the overwhelm, the anger and the fear. You’ll feel much better after.
Honor your limits
Set some limits and stick with them. A lot of tasks when we’re busy don’t have a set limit, like when you’re studying and being creative. It’s easy to feel like you’re never quite done. Set some clear limits for yourself and honor them. Say to yourself; “when the time is up, I’m DONE”.
Get more sunlight
Especially if your busy period is happening in winter, make sure you get your daily dose of sunlight if you’re spending a lot of time in gloomy libraries and workplaces.
Eat fresh fruit and vegetables
Keep some fruits and nuts close by and snack when you’re hungry. Don’t forget that cucumbers and carrots are great snacks!
Resist the urge to be productive all the time
You can’t be equally productive every single waking moment, so you might as well schedule some off time right away. Be nice to yourself and don’t expect to accomplish as much in the late evening as you do in the morning.
Limit your media consumption
… because your brain can only process a limited amount of information. When you need your focus to be on work, don’t overflow your brain with tv, news, newspapers, magazines and books.
Meditate in the morning
Ten minutes of stillness can make all the difference.
Block out distractions
Need to get some work done? Block your facebook, resist Pinterest, switch off your phone, and lock the door. If only for a few hours, you won’t miss out on anything, and you’ll feel a lot better afterwards.
Compliment yourself
Positive self-speech can seriously impact your mood. Instead of adding to the monkey-brain thoughts of not good enough, too stressed and panic – tell yourself you look good, that you’re doing great and that you can manage everything that comes your way.
Do the dreaded tasks first
There are always tasks you’ll love to do more than others, and it’s tempting to do those first. However, it’s probably better to alternate tasks. Do something hard, then do a task you like. That way, you’ll save yourself from all the dread!
It doesn’t have to cost much - coloring books can cost a little as a dollar or you can print off single pages online for free. But it is something mindless and enjoyable.
Reward yourself
Maybe not the best overall habit to get used to, but desperate times call for desperate measures. If you need it to get through – reward yourself with gifts, chocolate and breaks whenever you finish a task. Maybe you need the treat anyways?
Postpone all major decisions
… This is not the time to change majors, cut your hair, or break up with someone (however tempting it is). Save the big stuff for when you’re calmer and can think clearer.
Accept yourself as you are
Let yourself off the hook and accept that you are only human. You are doing your absolute best, and you are doing exactly what you need to do. Trust your instincts and keep doing whatever you’re doing. You don’t need to change anything about yourself – trust that you are perfect just the way you are.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Life Lately

//clouds going on for miles//

The past couple weeks have been good. We had a brief period of sunshine, and now it is mostly just pouring rain. All day. I have been enjoying the time by cooking hot food, adventuring with my friends, riding my bike, working out, and just trying to be productive - though sometimes that is a losing battle. Overall, though, I enjoyed June. It was a good month.

Excited about... 
Getting my car fixed. I love biking the two miles two and from work, but, honestly, biking in the pouring rain is terrible. And now that I have my car fixed, I can do things like grocery shop, visit people, and drive home and to rehearsals. 

Even more excited about...
Wedding season! There are 3 weddings in my immediate close friend group this summer and I am so excited for all of them. This is the first time I have been able to go to my friends' weddings, and really the first large amount of friends who are getting married. I get to be all grown up and go to bridal  showers, bachelorette parties, and the ceremonies themselves, and I am just so happy for all these people I love.

Nervous about... 
IRTY camps. This week is actually the first camp I have ever lead myself, and it's going well. It's a little nerve wracking to be in charge of lesson plans, crafts, and games, and to be doing the prep work. But it is preparing me for The Merry Wives of Windsor camp, and in that one I actually have to prepare kids to go onstage in a professional show.  But I do love it, and children's theatre is definitely a job I would like to keep doing.

 //playing Shark Attack during drama camp//  fresh and clean summertime look//

Looking forward to...
Starting some musicals! Also, before those rehearsals get started, I am taking a mini-break home for a week or so, give or take a few day and I am excited to go, spend some time with my family, explore around beautiful North Idaho. I'm just looking forward to spending some time with my family, if only for a little bit.

As always, quite a few things. Rereading Peter Pan, started The Game of Thrones, and The Diviners by Libba Bray. I loved her Great and Terrible Beauty Trilogy, and when I found the new book, this one set in 20's New York, in a thrift store for .99,  I needed to buy it. And I really like it. It's taking me a long time to read, given that it quite hefty - too big to pack in my purse and read on the elliptical - but I do like it and recommend it if you enjoy witty, fast paced fiction. As a fiction writer myself, I love to read, read, read books in my genre. I love to examine their writing style and their favorite plot devices, and I think it is the best way to become a better writer. 

//books// walking during the brief respite from the rain// obsessed with this show//
 Hannibal. Holy smokes. Watch this show - only don't if you are not a fan of the horror genre. It is bloody and graphic, but it is masterfully written and extraordinarily well acted. Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen are incredible in it, making their characters real and riveting. Mikkelsen makes Hannibal a convincing and suave villain without making the police seem like morons. Obsessed.

 an effort to get into really good shape. And let me tell you, it has been a challenge. I feel like more of a challenge than it is supposed to be. Cutting and counting calories, keeping a food and workout journal, and then spending 2 hours a day working out to zero results, except for more weight gain, is really defeating and I am running out of new ideas for it. But I just keep plugging along. I have an unrealistic terror of getting to Sound of Music rehearsal, having to do the waltz lift with Rolf, and him not being able to lift me or hurting himself because I am too heavy. 

//Singin' in the rain // holy curls, Batman!! this is what the humidity does to my hair//



Monday, June 17, 2013

time flies

A new week.  How do we get here over and over again?  Wasn't it Monday just yesterday?  Time is such a mischievous little sprite thing.  It seems to get better at tricking me as I get older too.  When we were kids, days and weeks dragged on, lasting forever.  I miss those endless days as a child.  Especially summer days of waking up in the morning and playing until it was dark and we were worn out. Our parents had to persuade us to rest. 

 I remember before a dance recital - I was in kindergarten - my mom was imploring me to nap. She finally got me to bed by telling me to try and catch the little hand moving across the clock face. 
I wish adult days lasted that long.  Remember when an hour seemed like an eternity?  Now it's like an hour is nothing.  I have an hour to do something?  That's not enough time!  I sit down to write a few sentences and look up and an hour has passed already.  I wake up, open my laptop to check email, facebook, my blog, and Pinterest, and the next thing I know I've been awake an hour and my cereal is gone and it's time to go.

 Today was pretty great. Week Two of IRTY camp started and this week we are focusing on Japanese myths with the K-3 class. It's such a sweet, mellow class, compared to the 9 seven-old-boys last week! And in just a week, I have to led my own camp, all on my own and call all the shots, write the script, and teach these kiddos something! Prayers!

Also, please send some good thoughts to a friend who fractured his femur literally in half. He was helping a friend unstick a truck and it rolled over his leg. He's in for a tough road for recovery and I know he had tickets to the Beyonce concert in 12 days -and I know it seems trivial, but he is probably not going to that anymore and that concert it something that is very special and important to him.

It's crazy how fast time seems to be passing lately. We are well into June and I have a few more weeks of camp and then I start Sound of Music rehearsals. 

I'm mostly just trying to take things slow and enjoy the opportunities that come up - be it spontaneous roller skating all around the Paradise Path or trips to the Dunes. I am loving summer in Moscow mostly. Sometimes it's very quiet. But quiet is good. 

Quiet lets me get myself in order and decide what I want to do and when I want to do it. It's cool. But time is still flying really really quickly. And I don't know how I feel about that. I will be a senior next fall and I get to contemplate where I want to move to to continue my career and relationships. 

But here is my current to-do list: 
1) learn to fly
2) FLY



Thursday, June 6, 2013

Recipe For You All!

So in the last weekish, I have gone a little gym and food crazy.  The gym is my home away from home - not because I like the gym - GOD NO, I hate the gym - but because I feel like I need to lose a few pounds.

Most of my life that I can remember, I have disliked how I looked, until I started to dance in college.

Well, in the summertime, in the dead weeks between school and work - there are no dance classes. And I have gained, like, 6 pounds since April. And that doesn't sound like much, but I was overweight in high school and it took 2 years of dance in college to get myself to a shape that I liked, so I am taking care of it now, while it is still manageable, however discouraging.

So, I have also been cooking way differently. Much more produce and salad, and trying to find ways to substitute ingredients in and out. Thank God for Pinterest.

I found an interesting recipe last night and, I must admit, I was hesitant. But I went for it and it was a hit for both Bailey and I.

As we all know, tuna fish is an incredibly nutrient-dense food. It's rich in high quality protein and an excellent source of important nutrients such as the minerals selenium, magnesium, and potassium; not to mention the B vitamin complex, and of course, the marvelous omega-3 essential fatty acids. And tuna melts rock.

But mayo is not good for you. It is awful. So with this recipe, you can lose the mayo.

Mix 4 ounces drained water-packed tuna with 2 table­spoons nonfat Greek yogurt and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Fold in 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives, diced carrots, celery, a bell pepper, and a pinch of shredded cheddar cheese. Splash in a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Serve on a whole wheat sandwich roll and toast it in the oven on 325 for about 5 minutes. 

I'm not kidding - it is so good. Better than the original fatty mayo recipe. So give it a try and let me know what you think! 

Tonight for dinner - chicken breast with basil and tomato, on a bed of linguine! Yum! 



Monday, June 3, 2013

Teaching Skeletons To Dance

Since January, I have been making some life changes and changes in mindset. It has been educational, and all of my opinions have been put to the test. Why do I feel this why? Or why do I think that? Do I really, or did I form that opinion because I thought I was supposed to or because someone wanted me to think that?

My current life philosophy is to pretty much do what makes me happy - within reason. Lines have been drawn, but at least I drew them for myself. But in December, right when everything was hitting the fan, I drew up a little list of things, rules almost, to live by.

  1. Have a firm handshake.
  2. Look people in the eye.
  3. Sing in the shower.
  4. Own a great stereo system.
  5. If in a fight, hit first and hit hard.
  6. Keep secrets.
  7. Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.
  8. Always accept an outstretched hand.
  9. Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
  10. Whistle, hum, or sing constantly. Music is good for the soul.

  1. Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 per cent of all your happiness or misery.
  2. Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
  3. Lend only those books you never care to see again.
  4. Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all that they have.
  5. When playing games with children, let them win.
  6. Give people a second chance, but not a third.
  7. Be romantic.
  8. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
  9. Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.
  10.  Avoid sarcastic remarks, unless you're in the appropriate setting.
  1. Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for our convenience, not the caller’s.
  2. Be a good loser.
  3. Be a good winner.
  4. Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
  5. When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.
  6. Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.
  7. Keep it simple.
  8. Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.
  9. Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
  10. Live your life so that your epitaph could read, No Regrets

  1. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
  2. Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
  3. Take charge of your attitude. Don’t let someone else choose it for you.
  4. Visit friends and relatives when they are in hospital; you need only stay a few minutes.
  5. Begin each day with some of your favorite music.
  6. Once in a while, take the scenic route.
  7. Send a lot of Valentine cards. Sign them, ‘Someone who thinks you’re terrific.
  8.  Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice. 
  9.  Be bold and courageous. When you look back on life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.
  10.  Keep a note pad and pencil on your bed-side table. Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 a.m.

  1. Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.
  2. Take fashion risks  - because why not? Mix prints like a madman
  3. Make someone’s day by paying for the person in the car behind you.
  4. Become someone’s hero.
  5. Marry only for love.
  6. Count your blessings.
  7. Compliment the meal when you’re a guest in someone’s home.
  8. Wave at the children on a school bus.
  9. Remember that 80 per cent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.
  10. Don’t expect life to be fair.

There are days when I miss the stability of being a child, or of being in a relationship. But then I think of the opportunities I have been afforded because of all the new risks I am taking. But there are also days when it is damn scary to have literally no money. I ran out of gas for the first time a couple of days ago!

 I've got some skeletons in my closet. But none that I am ashamed of. I have been enjoying living life and actually taking care of myself. It is freeing to know that no one is going to tell you what to do, how to dress, what auditions to go. It really is.

But those skeletons are still there. But there is a new sentiment I like:

Teach that sucker to dance! Take him out, dust it off, throw on some dance shoes, and jive with it.



Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Day In The Life Of An Accident Prone Person

When I wake up in the morning, I approach my day a little different than normal people do. I suffer from a very real problem.

I am incredibly accident prone. I hurt myself doing stupid things - not stupid like "longboarding on the highway" stupid, but stupid like "this shouldn't happen to people" sort of things.

Allow me to explain:

In the 4th grade, I fractured my elbow. I was getting out of the van and my sister shut the door before I was all the way out.

I also had to get stitches on my wrist. I was arguing with my brother and we running inside to tattle on each other. He slammed the door, I put my hand out to stop it and put my hand through the window. Actually, neither of us even remember what we were fighting about. 

In high school, I dislocated the carpel bone on my right wrist on an amusement park ride called the Sky Diver.

Two weeks later, I dislocated the same bone in my left wrist, falling down the stairs and trying to protect my right arm. Both this wrists still require chiropractic care on a semi-regular basis.

I fell down on a walk once and ruptured all the blood vessels in the pad of my thumb, by perfectly nailing a knot on a tree stump.

My senior year, I walked off the edge of the stage during a blackout and broke my foot. I was also senior class president; in a show; planning a prom, a spirit competition, and graduation; and trying to prep for college auditions. On crutches.

College was rough too.

I broke my nose and got a concussion because I was going to swing a door open with my hip. The door happened to be locked.

I discovered I was deathly allergic to latex in a stage makeup class.

I got hit by car once because it was so windy that I got blown off the sidewalk.

I ended up with knee surgery because I slipped and fell in a water park. Not one of my dance classes. A WATER PARK

And when I had my tonsils removed, I ended up in the emergency room, because I just happened to time my surgery with the day the weather went from 65 degrees and raining to 95 degrees. 

And then I just fall down stairs, walk into things, and drop things on a regular basis.

The chiropractor, masseuse and I are good friends. Though, I do want to say, I am celebrating 8 months with no visits to emergency room (knock on wood!!)

I know this a really tongue-in-cheek post, but in all honesty, I do pack my purse with that in mind.

I bring a knee brace, band aids (latex free, naturally!!), ibuprofen, and allergy pills almost everywhere I go. Because I like adventuring and sky-high heels and tomfoolery and antique stores and amusement parks and stairs and dancing.

Though when I am antiquing, I do my best NOT to touch anything. Wouldn't want to break something valuable on my college budget.

But there is nothing wrong with being a klutz! Think Jennifer Lawrence - she fell up the stairs at the Academy Awards and handled it with grace and humour. And America still loves the girl.

And I don't know if any of you, my lovely readers, watch and enjoy New Girl as much as I do. But let's talk about Jess - the most adorable klutz on TV. The episode where she tried to be a car model? Priceless.

Zooey Deschanel had a great quote about J. Law. She said, "“It was kind of like clumsy girls rule! If you have ... a young woman who wins best actress at the Oscars, going up the stairs, trips and falls, it’s just kind of, like, validation."

Does being a klutz detract from her charm or add to it? It looks to me like it is something that adds to her quirkiness. It takes a beautiful girl, and turns her approachable. Clumsy girls are like a romantic comedy waiting to happen!

I maintain that there is a level of charm to clumsy girl - at least that's what I tell myself. I just own it now and I laugh at myself. And I always have some good stories to tell at parties and dinners!