August 31, 2009

Time to Breathe

Being that I am getting closer and closer to the end of this six year bachelors degree I am suddenly having that future focused, world ending, life-crisis that every college grad eventually feels. Well, that most every grad feels. I tell myself, if I would have been working harder towards a specific goal, i.e. grad school, I wouldn't be feeling like this. Or I say, if I would have chosen a degree that fed right into a job I wouldn't be feeling like this. But then I say, how? How could I have done these things when life is so unpredictable? When and how could I have chosen a degree and grad program that would have included several hospitalizations, a diagnoses, and what seems like millions of medication changes? How could I have planned for this? And though I may talk some sense into myself at this point, the cycle continues going round and round: panic, intellectualizing, sense, relief, panic...

So, in a time when I am feeling more overwhelmed then usual, (though I am almost always usually feeling overwhelmed,) I find myself having to be extra good to myself, both mind and body. When I present around the country people always ask what I do to help myself stay stable in times like this, so in order to truly explain I will just give you a run down of my day today...

I woke up and made myself breakfast. Having recently bought some new cookbooks that focus on the importance of healthy food to our mind and body's overall health, I took extra time preparing a breakfast that was nutritious with all the vitamins and minerals my body needs. Being a vegetarian, and a person easily susceptible to all sorts of colds, viruses, etc., I find it especially important to get a healthy diet.

After breakfast, (and a bit of light reading,) I stretched and did some strength training exercises. I find that even if I do a very minimal amount of exercise, my body and mind feel so much better throughout the day. I feel best if I do between twenty minutes to an hour and a half of good cardio, stretches, and other exercises. I prefer running, yoga, pilates, and a little weight lifting. If I am feeling depressed running is better, but if I am feeling manic yoga and stretching is best.

After I exercised I did a small meditation. I try to do a little meditating each day because I feel it helps me refocus and organize my brain. I feel that by allowing my thoughts to calm and settle I can find relief from stress, worry, anxiety, agitation, and lots of other emotions that I can't manage if I continue to multi-task at break-neck speed. Though it is sometimes difficult to meditate, I find that it is very important to my wellbeing and I find that the more I do it, the more I begin to feel it in the rest of my life.

The last thing that I do is to allow myself breaks throughout my work. Because I always have a million things going on I try to allow myself small breaks and small rewards to make the work easier and more manageable. When I have a chance to do work outside (or in a different atmosphere then I would usually work in, such as a coffee shop,) I try to take the opportunity. Though I may feel like I work slower, I find that it is important for me to have a change of environment. Today, for instance, I worked by the lake. I also like to give myself small breaks from really difficult work by allowing myself to do things I normally wouldn't do, like watch a little television or buy dinner out.

Well, these are some of the things that I have been working on that I thought could be both beneficial for me to remember and useful for others to see. I will continue to work on these and hope that others might integrate them into there own lifestyles. And as that terrible cliche goes, I need to "stop and..." well, you know...

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