30 Days of Meditation & February Goals

It blows my mind that it’s already February, it totally snuck up on me. I get the feeling that the next couple months are going to fly by!

Remember back at the beginning of January where instead of setting resolutions I was 100% sure I would end up breaking, I decided to set goals for each month?

January I focused on meditation.

Well I haven’t talked much about it since then, but it actually went really well. I failed a little bit towards the end, I still meditated everyday, but sometimes that meditation was 10 slow breaths before going to bed. Life and school got a little crazy and it became a little bit of an after thought. While I do think that even a short meditation is incredibly beneficial, I wasn’t devoting the time I should have, especially considering my stress level at the time.

Meditation is something I’m definitely hoping to keep in my life as I move into the rest of the year. I learned a lot by taking devoting time everyday to focus on meditation and I took away a few really important things from my experience:

  • Meditation is one of the best ways I personally found to deal with stress – Isn’t it amazing how much calmer and less intimidating everything seems when you take a second to breathe? I was really surprised by how much calmer I felt after only a couple meditation, the difference is amazing.

  • Meditation is not just sitting in a cross-legged position while chanting “OM” – Well it can be if you want it to, but there are so many different ways to meditate that there really is something for everyone. I haven’t tried even a fraction of meditation methods, but some resonate with me much more than others. I was particularly like Chakra meditation.

  • You can meditate anywhere you want – I mean I wouldn’t recommend sitting down for a meditation session while you’re driving or operating heavy machinery, but I was surprised by the places I found myself meditating. I began the month by sitting on my bed every night before bed, but as the month went on I meditated while I was riding the bus, running, walking to class (while keeping enough awareness to not face plant it on the side walk, that would be no fun). I think my favorite place to meditate was on the bus.
    appalcart meme appalachian state university

    Too true (source)

    The bus is always PACKED in the morning and instead of being crammed in a claustrophobic bus like a can of sardines stress me out, I simply cleared my mind focused on my breath and it made the 20 minute trip much more bearable.

  • Meditation helped my sleep A LOT – I generally don’t have many sleep problems, but after a long day of class and homework it’s really hard for me to unwind and it was taking me a long time to fall asleep. A little meditation before bed helped clear my mind so I fell asleep faster and slept a lot deeper than I was before.
  • I does get easier – I promise. The first week of meditation was really tough for me, I couldn’t get my mind to shut up and I just got frustrated with it. The is to keep breathing, don’t let yourself get too frustrated and keep with it.

If you’re thinking about adding a little meditation to your daily routine I highly recommend it.

And that brings us to February!

This month I’m focusing on two small goals, one fitness-based and one creativity-based.

Goal #1A plank a day

planking on camels

But not that kind of planking (source)

Goal #2At least 5 minutes of sketching everyday

For goal #1 I’m starting off with one minute planks and ideally working my way up to longer planks every week. I feel like I have decent core strength but my planks are pretty weak so I want to work on doing them more consistently

Goal #2 is to help fuel my creativity. I get so many more design ideas when I take time to sketch up some ideas or just doodle for a few minutes everyday. Since graduation is right around the corner and I’m hoping to find a graphic design job, I want to keep those creative juices flowing.

I’m hoping I won’t overwhelm myself by having two goals this month, but I couldn’t pick between a life goal and a fitness goal so I picked both. They’re both pretty small to I think it’s definitely doable.

Is anyone interested in a blog post on how to meditate/different methods? I’ve played around with a few different methods and thought you guys might be interested in learning more about them.

Do you have any goals for this month/week/day/year? I’m usually not a big goal-setter, but small daily goals seems to work really well for me, so I’m sticking with it!

Confession Time

Apologies for being such a dippy blogger lately. I’m trying to be more consistent but consistency is not my forte, working on it.

Anyway, time for some heavier stuff (which will be sprinkled with pictures of adorable baby animals because heavy stuff is gross). I’m not very good at opening up but here goes nothing.

Confession time, I’ve been in a huge funk lately.

the funk

(by the way, if you have not witnessed the magic that is “Old Gregg” you need to get yourself over to YouTube and watch it)

I don’t know why but all I know is that it is quite a stinky one. I’ve been super anxious lately and just really down on myself. I’ve been feeling pretty insecure lately thanks to not being able to shake my Christmas (small) weight gain (which is dumb, vain and incredibly counter-productive). On top of that I’ve been having some stomach issues with painful bloating, which doesn’t help the whole ego situation and is just all around annoying.

cute bulldog puppy

And in addition to that school has been really stressing me out lately. Even if I only have a single assignment due I still find myself all stressy and anxious about it. I don’t understand it because I usually have a pretty calm approach to school and rarely freak out about it and I’ve already wanted to pull my hair out twice in the past week. That stress turns into stress eating which only makes the above problem worse which leads to more stress and the nasty cycle continues.

two cute kittens

I’m just really homesick and a little overwhelmed.

two cute sleepy kittens

I’m not here to whine, because I honestly have nothing to whine about. I’ve got great friends up here, a wonderful opportunity for education and I’m still a very healthy person. But it feels good to be honest and it feels good to get things off my chest. My boyfriend did a great job of cheering me up last night when I was feeling extra funky and I feel much better today but the funk is still there.

basket of golden retriever puppies

I’m determined to pull myself out of this funk so here’s my plan:

  • For the tummy issues: I’m focusing on eating lots of plants and healthy fats. I’m (attempting, we’ll see how this goes) to cut out grains and dairy for a week or two and then gradually add them back in. I want to find out what’s causing the issues because I’ve been really good at staying away from gluten lately and I think this is the best way to isolate possible problem foods. It’ll probably be tough but I’m so ready for my stomach to feel normal again that it’s 100% worth it for me.
  • For the stress issues: MEDITATION. I’ve been doing it daily as part of my monthly resolution but I’ve seriously dropped back since starting school and have been doing a pretty pathetic 2 minutes a night. While I do think some meditation is better than no meditation I think re-devoting myself to a good 10 minute meditation session will be much more effective. I also think asking myself what I’m stressed about will help, because sometimes when I actually think about it I sometimes realize I have very little to be stress over and helps put things in perspective.
  • For the ego issues: I’m not setting a goal to lose the few pounds I gained over break. One that won’t fix the problem, the problem is my mindset, not the weight. Instead I’m focusing on nourishing my body with healthy foods, maintaining my current fitness routine because I’m really happy with it and incorporating some positive affirmations to get rid of that negative self talk.

That feels really good to get off my chest. I’m not good at opening up so this post was pretty tough to write, hence the puppy and kitty pictures, but I think it helps put things in perspective to put things out there. So I’m taking the leap.

And to end on a happy  note:

monkey and cat animal friends

I’ll be back to more normal upbeat posts tomorrow with a WIAW style recap of my weekend. Which was only funky in best way possible.

How do you pull yourself out of funk?

How do you cheer yourself up when you’re down? Phone calls to the boyfriend and lots of adorable animal pictures. If a puppy can’t make you smile then I don’t know what will.

Long Time No See

It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve blogged! In reality I guess it’s just been the weekend, but my blog reading has been minimal and I’ve missed the blogging world! It’s the week before exams over here so life is really stressful right now and things are a little overwhelming. I haven’t had much time to breathe much less blog but I miss you guys so bear with me until next week when things will be a little more back to normal.

My Monday has been surprisingly marvelous. The list of things I have due before I go home for Christmas makes me want to cry a little, so needless to say I’m in serious need of some marvelousness in my life, but I think everyone does this time of year.

Thanks Katie for putting this together and making me realize my day is much better than I realized!

The marvelous things in my life:

  • Christmas parades!

    parade1

    Clydesdales!

    parade2

    Santa!

    I’m a little kid and I LOVE parades. I went to the Boone Christmas parade Saturday morning and even though it is tiny compared to the one back home but I still loved it. I got lots of candy, and the guy next to me had a Great Dane that I got to pet during the parade and we talked about running. Best way ever to spend the morning? I think so.

  • The Gobbler 5k
    Photo on 2012-12-01 at 14.56 #2
    I’ve got a recap coming your way soon, but it was a fun race with gluten-free blackberry cobbler at the finish line. Why does every race not have that? I ran this race last year and it was my first ever race, and I loved reflecting on how far my running has come in the past year. And then that afternoon I came back to my apartment and did 2 more miles, yay mileage!
  • Salad bars
    earthfarelunch
    It has been too long since I’ve hit up a salad bar. I had this Saturday afternoon during the final meeting/critique for the literary art magazine on campus (which has been so fun to be a part of)! Whew Saturday was busy. 5k, parade, meeting, homework, movie – busy but so fun (if you ignore that homework part)
  • Lots and lots of cookies!

    cookie

    Not-so-healthy

    cookie2

    Healthy

    Friday I volunteered at a campus event for the multicultural center, I was stationed at the cookie decorating booth. AKA the best booth. Unfortunately I didn’t plan well and did not eat dinner before going, ate too many cookies and had my tummy tell me just how un-marvelous that was. At least they were tasty, and (kinda) beautifully decorated!

    Saturday night I needed a break from homework before my head imploded so I baked up some healthy cookies, they definitely taste healthy but I ate the entire batch in two days so they are still pretty tasty.

  • Finding new delicious snacks
    yogurtmess
    I whipped up this yogurt mess yesterday and it was super tasty so I need to share. Plain greek yogurt + pumpkin + peanut butter + shredded coconut + craisins + pumpkin pie spice. Hit the spot and made good study fuel.

  • Groceries!
    healthyhaul
    My kitchen situation was looking pretty sad so I was happy to finally get to the grocery store! This isn’t everything, but I got two big bags of groceries for $40 and my kitchen is fully stocked with lots of healthy things. Healthy food makes me a happy lady.
  • The opportunity to do something selfless – I’m about to let my crazy cat lady flag fly but when I was leaving the grocery store last night I saw a stray cat in the parking lot scavenging for food. I felt really bad that I had nothing to get the cat (homeless animals make me real sad) then I realized duh, I’m at a grocery store. I stopped the car and ran inside for some cat food. It took two trips because I didn’t realize they don’t take cash after 10pm but I finally got a can of food for the poor little guy. He was gone by the time I got the food but I left the can in the bushes and I hope finds it.

    I’ve been feeling really selfish and wrapped up in my own life since I’ve been so busy and stressed so it felt really good to be able to do something for someone else (even if that someone else is a cat). Also, I was telling my boyfriend about what I did and he told me I have a such a big heart. That’s the best compliment someone’s ever given me. I feel like I’ve really accomplished something when someone tells me that, it makes me feel, well, Marvelous.

  • A blog shout out – remember Thursday when I was thankful for getting accepted into App State’s Artistic Rebuttal Book Project? Well the creator of the project, Amy Scheidegger saw my blog post and featured it on her blog! I could not wipe the smile off my face when I saw it!
  • A letter from my Elf!
    elfletter
    One of our Elf For Health challenges was to send a handwritten letter so someone. We decided to exchange letters and my letter was sitting in the mail box when I got home today. Not only did she send me a letter, but a mixed CD, a pancake recipe and a packet of buckwheat flour to use in the recipe because she saw I was gluten-free, all in a really pretty pink envelope. I’m completely blown away by Mojgan‘s generosity! This letter completely made my day and I’m so thankful I got paired with such an awesome elf!
  • Getting to blog! I seriously hate that blogging has had to take such a backseat lately because I truly enjoy blogging and getting to interact with all you wonderful people! I’m glad I found some time to fit some blogging today because it was much needed and such a great escape/stress reliever, hopefully I won’t disappear again this week (I have lots of posts I owe you guys including the Pilates one I missed on Friday) but school work has to come first because I need to do it to graduate or something silly like that.

It’s back to studying/homework for me, lots of fun is in store over here tonight. Only 9 more days until Christmas break!

What made your Monday Marvelous?

Any fun Christmas plans?

What did you do this weekend?

Any other college students stressing over exams like I am?

Almost Summer and a Few Tangents

Oh hey May, what’s up? It’s good to see you, bring me some summertime.

Today was the last day of class, which means only a week until summer! To say I’m excited is an understatement. I. Am. So. Ready.

I love Boone and I love school but things are starting to get incredibly overwhelming and I really need some quality time at home with my family. I’ve been more stressed out this semester than I have ever been in my entire schooling career, and while I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had in the past couple months, I need some time to regroup and gear up for senior year.

Today was crazy and involved 2 exams, a yoga teacher audition, 5 hours of sleep, and one terrible stress-induced tummy ache. Let’s not talk about it, let’s talk about puppies instead.

Image

Seriously. I volunteered at Walk-A-Puppy event yesterday to raise money for the local humane society. College kids will pay lots of money to walk puppies.

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The dogs were so excited to get outside and would not stop running around. Hence the fantastic photos. It was lots of fun and we raised a good chunk of change for a good cause, and only had one doggy escape incident, but we got him back.

Puppies make everything better.

Today was my yoga teacher audition, I think it went fairly well, I was a ball of nerves but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I would love to be a yoga teacher, but if not I’m still very happy with my Pilates job, so either way I’ll be happy.

Completely unrelated but, I GOT A SCHOLARSHIP. I’m a little excited about it. Who doesn’t love free money? No one. Feels good that my hard work is paying off for something, maintaining a good GPA can be tough.

This evening I went to the last Power Yoga class of the semester. Which is sad, I love that class and I’ll miss it this summer. It was a great class though. Yoga is amazing after a stressful day, it’s how I’ve managed to maintain my sanity this semester. Thank you yoga.

Speaking of yoga:

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I joined RunToTheFinish‘s 30 Day Yoga Challenge for May. Another excuse to do some yoga? Yes please. It has been going swimmingly so far. Minus yesterday, studying and general stressing got in the way, but I did 130 minutes of yoga today, I think that makes up for it. I want to try taking classes in a real yoga studio over the summer, when I have free time and a somewhat disposable income, I think it would be an awesome experience. Well, any yoga is an awesome experience.

Did I mention I love yoga?

Well, I’ve got some assignments to finish up, because someone forgot to tell my professors that classes are over. Bye!

Long Day.

I’ve spent a good 6 hours in front of the computer today. Good grief! That sounds so much worse when I write it out. My eyeballs feel like they’re going to fall out. I applied for a summer internship a couple weeks ago and they want me to send them some portfolio pieces, so I’ve been working on perfecting them. Fingers crossed I get it! Got some serious school work done too, I’m just trying to plow through all my assignments before spring break in two weeks!

I got my butt out of bed in time for an 8 am yoga class this morning. I felt like amazingness during class, but afterwards my body felt like it had been hit by a truck. Does that happen to anyone else? I felt a lot better after lunch and I can tell I’ve been holding a lot of tension in my body lately. I’ve been neglecting yoga lately (though not by choice, I miss it!), so maybe that explains it. And running has been making my muscles so tight! I miss the noodle I used to be when I was dancing hardcore in high school, I need to get that back! I”m thinking a hot date with my foam roller tomorrow night is just what I need, woo! woo!

I’ve got to admit I could never be a straight up food blogger. I’m an eating machine. I get straight up hangry every 2-3 hours. Not just hungry. Hangry. I’m not a pleasant person with an empty tummy. So what I’m basically saying is that I eat a really delicious meal and then on the final bite I’m like “oh, this was delicious, I should have taken a picture of it”. Sorry guys, I’m forgetful when I’m hungry. I did remember get a picture of my dinner only halfway through eating it, that’s close right?

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Salad a la Dining Hall with lettuce, carrots, red onions, tomatoes, olives and hummus (the best salad topper, just saying). Just double what you see there and add 2 hard boiled eggs and a stonyfield yogurt with some granola on the side. It hit the spot, I love me vegetables. And for lunch I had a salad with kale, sweet potatoes and tofu, very yummy but devoured within minutes, so no picture. Oops, what can I say? My 10 am Photoshop class sure works up an appetite. Seriously, I’m a starvin’ Marvin when I leave that class, but that’s probably just because it’s close to lunch.

I’ve got a 3 mile run planned for the morning, it might be my last one before my 8k on Saturday! I haven’t decided if I’m going to try to squeeze in a short 2 mile-ish run on Thursday of Friday or not, but knowing me it probably won’t happen. Which is good I want some fresh legs to run on this weekend!

Goodnight!