Three weeks into school and you’re already feeling a little worn out, hey? Chin up, buttercup. There’s 13 more weeks to go; this is a marathon, not a sprint.
I’m getting this really tough lesson in being easier on myself, aren’t it? I’m being forced to understand that I can’t do it all. I can’t win at everything. It’s okay to eat cereal and PB&J sometimes. It’s okay to say “no” to coffee with people if it’s only going to make you more stressed about your workload.
You’re making lists, getting enough sleep most of the time, doing the best you can to work out. And the best you can is good enough.
I’m also learning about dealing with worry, it seems. It’s so easy to feel scared about the future and worry about affording things during my practicum. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. If I’ve learned one thing about myself in recent years, it’s that I can overcome a whole lot. I can deal with the curveballs life throws me. This will just be another curveball.
Doesn’t really help to stress out about it now though, right? Not much I can do to change things. Just deal with what comes, as it comes.
Now, get back to that homework.
I’m taking a break from the Simple Eating series for just a minute because I wanted to talk about how going back to school and being part-time at work again has me STRESSED OUT. I’m trying to be the most prepared human being on the planet, but we all know that organization is not my strongest quality (hence why this blog goes through phases of posting and awkward silence).
Here’s the dealio. I know I’m not alone in being the only person who takes on too much … I’m way too aspirational and have way too many goals. I want to work like crazy, kick ass in my classes, continue working with my dietetics marketing group, continue my side projects (including the blog), and go to as many CrossFit classes as my little body can handle. I want to do all of this while budgeting my money, still having a strong social life, giving my doggy all the attention he deserves, eating very healthy, meal planning on the weekends, and not having to buy new undies because I’ve put off laundry for far too long.
I could literally keep going with a hundred other things I want to keep simultaneously afloat, but I think my point has been made. High expectations, much? It’s exhausted just thinking about all that!
Something’s gotta give, right?
The perfectionist and overachiever in me has a really hard time saying “yes” to that question. I struggle with admitting I can’t do it all. So, I’m working on that. And resisting the urge to plan out every minute of every day so that I can strategically accomplish all of the above-mentioned things. And sleeping. Wow, I forgot about sleeping.
But there are TWO little strategies I’ve tried recently and would like to share with the rest of you busy people out there.
I am so, so sorry because I can’t remember where I read this tip, but it goes like this: You get home from work and you’re exhausted. But now you really need to write a blog post/do some homework/keep working, and finding the motivation to plunk down at your desk for the evening is just too much. You can’t.
Instead of ignoring your responsibilities, sit down at your desk for 20 minutes. That’s it. Just 20. Set your alarm on your phone if you want, but promise yourself uninterrupted productivity for 20 minutes.
Not only is it great to get 20 minutes of work out of the way, chances are, that’s enough time to get you back in the zone and ready to work again. You might be so in the zone that you dismiss that alarm and keep on truckin’.
I don’t know why this works, but tricking yourself into saying, “Okay, JUST 20 minutes and then I can veg out for a bit” seems to do the job of getting you back on track.
A friend recommended this strategy to me. Do you ever get to that level of stressed out where you’re so overwhelmed that you’re almost crippled from doing anything at all? It’s that moment when you just wanna lay on the floor and let the disaster unfold.
Stop. Get up off that dirty carpet and pick one thing. Any one thing; I don’t care what it is. Your laundry. Dishes. A writing project. Reading assignment. Choose one and get it done. (Omg, you guys, that kind of rhymes). Being able to cross something off your list makes everything seem a little bit more, oh, tackle-able.
The to-do list might still be long and the hours in the day will still be dwindling, but at least that damn to-do list didn’t get the better of you!
We’ll get back to your regularly scheduled Simple Eating posts next week. It’s on my to-do list. 😉
Welcome back to the Simple Eating series. This time, we’re talking about veggies! This is an important food group, obviously, but many people grew up with an aversion to veggies and have never really grown to have an appreciation for them. And you know what? I was one of those people.
I don’t consider myself a very adventurous eater (at least not when I’m doing the cooking), but that doesn’t mean I can’t work hard to get in vegetables every day. Again, this series is meant to be the basics — eating and cooking 101 for those of us who just want to start making better choices now that we’re solely responsible for what goes in our bodies.
So how much veg are you supposed to have each day? Well, the USDA says 2 1/2 cups for adult women each day (go here if you want details for other folks), and they even go into detail about how much that should be for each vegetable sub-group. By the way… only about 27% of Americans are actually eating that much veg each day. Not cool.
Anyway, each WEEK, you should have:
While I wouldn’t worry yourself about what your breakdown is, it’s an important reminder to eat lots of different colors. Don’t get caught eating the same two things over and over. It’s all about variety, people.
This MyPlate chart gives a really nice breakdown of what counts as a cup of a vegetable, as well as vegetables that fall into each subgroup, so I’d recommend giving that a browse. If you’re like me and love pictures, check out this post by the kitchn, which shows you what a days worth of fruits and veggies really looks like. Cool, huh?
So how do you go about getting 2 1/2 cups of vegetables into your daily diet? Salads! I’m totally kidding. I actually hate salads. I think there are three lines of thinking that will help you keep veggies top of mind:
One of the best things you can do for yourself is find a few veggies you like snacking on. I love carrot sticks, grape/cherry tomatoes and green pepper slices. I can eat all of these items plain, or I enjoy them with a little bit of hummus. My warning for you here is not to use any dipping sauces, like ranch. If you have to have something, hummus is the way to go (in moderation, of course). Pre-cut and pre-portion these items for yourself at the beginning of the week. This will help prevent you from getting lazy mid-week and skipping out on the healthy snacks.
Maybe this is a Midwestern thing, but I grew up eating a meat, a carb-y side, and a vegetable every night for dinner. That’s just how we rolled. If you’re planning your meals in this manner (which I think is really easy and smart), don’t forget about that very hefty veggie side. This should be the biggest portion of your plate. Sure, you could do a reduced sodium can of corn or beans, or you could do something a little more fun, like a stir fry or fancy sweet potato with salsa and chives on top. My word of warning here? Watch out for sodium in the canned items, and be careful with some of the newer frozen, steam-in-a-bag items. A lot of those now come with sauces as part of the ingredients, which can include a lot of fat, sodium and overall calories. Go plain instead and season yourself.
This is my favorite veggie tactic, honestly. Next time you’re making a meal, think to yourself, “how could I incorporate veggies into this?” For example, you could make scrambled eggs for breakfast … or you could make an omelette with mushroom and green pepper. You could make a turkey and cheese sandwich … or you could make a turkey and cheese sandwich with tomato, spinach and avocado (yes, I know avocado is technically a fruit but go with it). You could make pasta and red sauce for dinner, or you could cook up some peppers, onions and zucchini to stir into the sauce. Right there, we’ve added lots of veggies right into breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Feeling a little bit better about working veggies into what you’re eating? I hope so. Now go enjoy!