Fall 2016 Covet List

Fall 2016 Covet List

Yves Saint Laurent cashmere sweater
129.760 ISK – farfetch.com

Lipsy lace top
5.820 ISK – lipsy.co.uk

LE3NO blue jacket
4.295 ISK – le3no.com

TIBI skirt
45.845 ISK – tibi.com

River Island skinny jeans
7.275 ISK – riverisland.com

Strappy sandals
2.580 ISK – gojane.com

Wool shawl
11.105 ISK – genuine-people.com

Taupe
21.830 ISK – tieks.com

Physical Activity, Exercise and Fitness

This post is the first part in a 7-post series on health.

I’ve written before on the topic of health – usually random posts and rants. There is so much information (and misinformation – usually more of this) available for free on the internet that it’s hard to sort through. I remember my first forays into the vast and terrifying world of Google, about seven years ago now; they left me with a headache and not quite sure where to begin.

I’ve read (and studied) enough by now to have formed solid opinions on what constitutes behaviours, patterns and adoptable habits for optimal health, and thought I’d share them here. In mainstream media, there’s a ton of talk about diet and fitness, but less on the other key components: psychological well-being (also included here: stress management and spirituality), and sleep.

In my program, we often discuss health in a multidimensional perspective. I personally like to break it down into seven main components: physical activity/exercise/fitness, diet/eating habitspsychological well-beingenvironmental well-beingstress-management, sleep, and spirituality. I’ll discuss each in separate posts; this first one is dedicated to physical activity.

Physical Activity, Exercise and Fitness

I am a big advocate for physical activity. As a kinesiology student, we talk a lot about the importance of physical activity, and it’s mainstream knowledge by now that regular exercise improves your overall physical and mental health, reduces stress, regulates appetite and even improves sleep. Just moving can help us forge better relationships with our bodies as we focus on what we’re capable, contributing to greater self-efficacy and self-esteem that (hopefully) isn’t axed on our physical appearance. Team sports and group activities provide a social component from which everyone can benefit (humans by nature are social and require interpersonal interactions for optimal happiness, even us “introverts”!).

Of course, exercise can be used negatively as well. In my eating disorder heyday, I was running an hour a day on a treadmill on an empty stomach, my only objective being to burn calories. This type of exercise was not born out of self-love or care; I was using it to feed an obsession and for the satisfaction of seeing the (albeit inaccurate) calorie count on the machine. Today, I run occasionally, but always outdoors or on a track, and always just because I feel like it.

Below, I’ll address some of the common questions I get from people just starting out on their own fitness journeys.

What type of exercise should I do?

Whatever you’ll actually do/stick to. Seriously.

You aren’t going to stick with something you won’t do. If you hate running or weight-lifting or going to yoga or playing soccer, then just don’t do those things. There are tons of different activities you can take up; find one you like. Experiment. Try salsa-dancing. Try kayaking. Try hiking. Try gardening. Try literally anything.

I sit at a desk all day. Is thirty minutes of physical activity enough?

Unfortunately, no. You can’t out-exercise a day spent sitting in 30 minutes. Sure, you’re better off than the average sedentary desk-job worker, but the fact of it remains that sitting for long periods of time is bad for you.

The solution? Walk. As much as you can.

Walking is the most underrated form of exercise. Sure, it’s not intense – and that’s the point. The fittest nations are those who walk or actively commute to work, and do little else by way of exercise. Case in point: most European countries (the French come to mind).

I personally live in a very sedentary city. Our public transit system is inconvenient to use, and so almost everyone drives. We’re also the second most obese city in Canada, and I don’t think that’s a random correlation.

The best part it, almost anyone can build some walking into their day. Take a ten-minute walk during your lunch break. Park further away from your workplace and walk a bit. Pace a bit while you take phone calls.

If you’re in walking or biking distance away from work, do that. I live a half-hour walk away from school, and make the journey as often as possible (weather permitting; it’s snowy here in Canadaland).

If you have the means, a standing desk is an awesome way to keep you on your feet. A lot of my profs have treadmill desks in their offices, which is an investment I plan to make if I ever find myself sitting for long periods of time.

If you’re sedentary and want to begin to improve your health, start walking. Once you manage to build walking into your day (10 000 steps a day is a good benchmark), THEN consider adding other exercises or workout sessions.

I heard that I should do 30-45 minutes of steady-state cardio a day to improve my cardiovascular health. Is that really necessary?

I’m not a proponent of long, drawn-out cardio sessions for health. There are pros and cons, of course:

Pros: Accessible, require minimal equipment (i.e. running shoes), require little planning, can be done without accessing a gym or purchasing more expensive equipment, provide improvements to the cardiovascular system

Cons: Long, provide relatively little “bang” for time invested (i.e. not as efficient as a shorter workout can be), often high-impact (i.e. running is hard on the knees)

If you’re a swimmer, marathoner or shorter-distance runner, biathlete, cyclist, cross-country skier, or any other form of endurance athlete, then of course carry on and disregard everything I’ve said above. If you’re new to exercise but have found that you love to run/swim/bike/etc, then keep doing that. The principle of “stick to what you’ll do” always applies. Ensure that you’re taking precautions to prevent injury, and avoid rapid progression – your body needs time to adapt.

The main point I’m trying to make is that if you don’t enjoy long aerobic exercise sessions, then you don’t need to do them. There are other ways of improving cardiovascular health that provide less wear-and-tear on the body and require a much smaller time investment.

If I’m serious about improving my health, then what should I do?

Honestly, walking and participating in activities you like are a major fitness improvement for most people. That said, some of us *raises hand* genuinely enjoy most fitness pursuits and are perpetually trying to improve our own health. There’s a ton of conflicting information out there; what I’d generally recommend (and try to emulate) is as follows:

  • Walk every day
  • Lift heavy weights 2-3x a week
  • Sprint 1-2x a week (or do a metabolic conditioning  [metcon] workout)
  • Stretch most days/do yoga 1-2x a week

At some point, I’ll write a post on what a sprint/metcon workout might look like, and what heavy-lifting might entail.

What do you do, in terms of exercise? What does your perfect fitness week look like?

Honestly, I’m human. I exercise semi-regularly and am currently working on making it a more integral part of my life, but my reality is that I’m a student who spends more time sitting than she should. I frequently work early 8-hour shifts on my feet and don’t always feel like hitting up the gym afterwards; I’m a morning exerciser through and through (and find that working out intensely later in the day messes up my sleep), but prioritize my sleep over getting up to fit in a workout before I start work at 6am. I attend yoga semi-regularly, run and lift weights occasionally, take walks with friends, and build make a point of getting outside to do seasonal activities when the opportunity arises.

That said, I try to sprint once a week, lift heavy two or three times a week, attend yoga once or twice a week, and get outside (kayaking or hiking) at least once a week. I also try to get in 10 000 steps a day. I’m also currently getting into stand-up paddle boarding and will be trying out rock-climbing soon. It’s a flexible process that varies depending on where I’m at in life, and that’s fine by me. I would prefer to keep a regular workout schedule and am trying to make that happen, but it’s a process.🙂

Mother’s Day

Yesterday was mother’s day. I had the day off work, and spent a wonderful day with my mom – we went out for lunch, and spent some time with mMother's Day 2015y grandmother. We’re about to watch the latest Game of Thrones episode; afterwards I’ll return to the house I’m sitting to cuddle up with the dog (who insists on sharing the bed) and snag a few hours of rest.

I wrote a short poem yesterday morning, reflecting my thoughts on motherhood. I’m at a strange age where it seems that half my friends are “exploring their sexuality” (in whatever that may entail), a solid number are getting married and/or are having children themselves, and the remainder are happily single and/or in steady relationships with no intention of pursuing anything further in the near future. I’m sure that my perspective on what it is to be a mother will change dramatically over the next few decades, particularly if I do end up having children of my own some day, but it’s an interesting exercise – and it made my mother tear up, which is (usually) a good sign.😉

Reflections on Motherhood

Bringing a child into the world
Because you want one is
By definition, a selfish act

A fundamentally human act
Becoming, in that first breath
A lifetime project in selflessness

I was, and am a wanted child
Born into a stable nuclear family
And I know that I’m lucky

To never have witnessed the rows
Of two people wrong for each other
To never have felt unloved

My mother has always been
A pillar of strength in my life
Her love ties us all together.

As I’ve grown, I’ve developed a concept of
The weight that a mother’s actions bear
In the shaping of sons and daughters

Because I am also selfish
And fundamentally human
I envision a child of my own one day

They will carry the weight of the experiences
Of all the strong women who moulded me
Either present or implied in my own mother’s teachings

And I can only hope
To raise them with as much
Unselfishness and awareness

To have them feel as important
Supported, free to speak and share
To know that there is a home to come back to

And above all, to have them feel as loved
As my mother has always made
And makes me feel today.

Happy mother’s day to all the moms out there! May you all feel as cherished and loved as you deserve, today and every day.

Exams, Whole30, and Other Musings

Once again, exams are thrust upon us. I’ve been mostly following a study schedule I made up for myself mid-March; my first exam is this evening, and I feel well-prepared, though cautious and most certainly not overconfident. This particular prof’s examination style is somewhat intense, with negative-marking multiple choice questions making up half the exam and a weighting of 70% of the final course mark. Still, all of the material covered in the exams are what we went through in class (no additional textbook readings), and the questions are straightforward. This prof also happens to be my favourite prof this year – I’ve taken four out of ten classes this year with him, three of them this semester. My next exam is Saturday, followed by another Monday, then one on next Thursday, and finally one on the Thursday after that; everything culminates precisely one month after my 21st birthday. We’ve planned a class-wide brunch out to celebrate afterwards.

In other news, life feels like it might finally be slowing. I’m gearing up (or down?) for “the best summer ever” – that is, one with hopefully not nearly as much stress as last summer. I’ll be working a lot, spending time in the lab, coaching a soccer team and enjoying a new band gig playing at the hospital – and these are my only commitments. No summer courses, no MCAT studying. I’m taking some camping trips, I’m visiting my best friend and family in Ottawa for her graduation, and I’m going to Cape Cod at the end of August. I’m going to focus on my own health and fitness (I’d like to make exercise/movement more of a priority – swimming across lakes and hiking, anyone? – and prioritize better sleep habits). I may even write a memoir, if I can discipline myself to sit down and write every morning; it this proves to be too stressful, I’ll let it go for another season. I’m hoping to spend time making memories with my friends; my undergraduate years are slipping away, and I have this distinct impression that I’m entering my final season of childhood.

Other news:

1) I went to Florida in February with my best friend and her family, and finally got to experience Disney World. It’s a far cry from the types of trips I usually take, but I definitely enjoyed myself – and must admit that Disney as a whole is great at what it does. We also got to enjoy a day at the beach, before temperatures dropped to just above freezing – cold, but not nearly as cold as at home! I’ll take it any day.

2) Immediately after Florida I went to Montebello with my lab group for a conference. That was an extremely cool experience; it’s fun to have the opportunity to interact with researchers at the front of their field and get to know other trainees, who will likely become colleagues in the not-so-distant future. Also, the food at this place: no words. I can’t even begin to sum up how incredible it all was.

3) Yesterday, I started the Whole30 program with my parents. I’m trying to regulate my eating patterns (I have pretty rampant snacking habits and tend to have seconds of dinner, regardless of if I’m hungry or not), and also hope to resolve my persistent acne issues and maybe even sort out my sleep issues (I have frequent bouts of insomnia). Searching for a miracle cure? Perhaps.😉 We’ll see what happens.

On Career Options

Today’s word-dump summary/subtitle: In Which I Reflect Loquaciously On What the Hell I’m Doing With My (School-Focused) Life

I have a year and three months left of my undergraduate education. In six months or so, I’ll be applying to graduate school, medical school, and who knows what else. The fact is, I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing this time two years from now. This unknown is a lingering stress at the back of my mind – not enough to disrupt my life (after all, what can I do about it?), but its presence is noticeable. I have the impression that most (if not all) of my peers are in this situation as well. We look enviously on those who know exactly where they’re going/what they’re doing. We’re at once violently restless and seeking to settle.

I am an extremely goal-oriented person. Give me something to work towards, and you can be assured that I’ll pour myself heart and soul into it. Give me many things to work towards, and I’ll try to distribute myself among all these (which sometimes works out and sometimes does not). I also want to do just about everything. I have multiple ideas for careers, which all require slightly different paths – and I can see myself equally as happy in any of these.

For example, my primary objective over the past year and a half or so has been to set myself up for a career in clinical research. I would absolutely thrive in a setting like this, but (but, of course there are “buts”) I’ve also begun to consider the amount of life I’ll have to devote to it. At nineteen, it seems fully reasonable to remain in school until you’re forty – and while I’m absolutely still willing to commit to that, I do have to make sure I’ve thought long and hard about the sacrifices that will have to be made. Things like being salaried, buying a car, even getting married and starting a family. These things can still be done, absolutely- however, I wouldn’t be properly salaried until my mid-thirties, and the flexibility and freedom to do many things requiring time and money would be limited until my full matriculation.

The other side to this is “getting there” in the first place. I’ve taken multiple steps in gaining admission to a PhD/MD – from working in a lab (which has helped to garner publications) to taking my MCAT to keeping up my grades to shadowing a doctor to volunteering in various areas in the community (sitting on the board of directors for a youth choir, the Ontario Breast Cancer Association, coaching a soccer team) to maintaining my own extracurriculars (singing in a few choirs, playing in the university concert band, exercising).  That said, my grades aren’t at the “top” (I have a 3.9 on a 4.0 scale – woe is me, I know, I know); my specific clinical volunteerism is lacking.  Getting into any medical program is a lottery; for all that I have going for me, I also have fair bit “against”.

I intend to apply to Master’s degrees. In bio-molecular sciences (here), in physiology, in nutrition. I’m also considering applying to a university that has a B.Sc. program in nutrition and pursue dietetics; I could do a shorter second B.Sc. (two or three years instead of four) on account of the credits I’ve obtained through my kinesiology degree, and work as a kinesiologist/personal trainer on the side; this summer I plan to become a certified personal trainer and a certified exercise physiologist the next (after having obtained my degree), both through CSEP.

This last option is appealing to me on some days; doing a masters, more so on others. The issue is that I love both research and human interaction; I like the idea of both helping others with my current knowledge while searching for new things. I am passionate about physiology and metabolism (and the impact of nutrition and exercise on these); the only thing that I know for sure is that I’m headed somewhere in this direction. My interest in the MD/PhD degree is largely based on this duality of patient interaction and research.

That’s where I’m at, currently. Working towards a balance between my interests and hobbies; my work life; my student life; my relationships (SO, family, friends). Trying to take care of myself as best as I can. My mind is constantly busy; I’m paring back in other ways to try and compensate. I think that this is where the urge to settle comes from – busy-ness is a disease, and I want to slow down as much as my life is currently picking up pace. I’m just going to trust that as long as I continue to work, my career will sort itself out. Hopefully balance preceding this.

Body Fat

I’m taking a course called “Fitness and prescription” [Conditionnement physique], which is (naturally) all about prescribing fitness interventions. Fair enough. We’ve just finished a unit on body composition, in which a short section at the end delineated “guidelines” to follow on how to address weight gain:

– Eat often; eat larger portions; snack; drink milk and juice with meals (fair enough)
– Eat high-calorie foods, but stick to low-fat options (uhhh)
Above all, do not gain too much fat. Aim only to gain lean body mass (wait, what?)

The prof went on to explain that while weight gain is necessary, fat gain shouldn’t be the goal. At this, I raised my hand. “What about women with amenorrhea? They’d definitely benefit from gaining some body fat.” Cue blathering about “critical fat mass” and women below 13% body fat and yes, amenorrheic women might benefit from gaining some fat, because sometimes women who drop too low in body fat percentage skip their menstrual cycle for a few months.

Well. As someone who skipped 30 months of her menstrual cycle, fat gain was definitely in my interest. So I gained weight. On larger, more frequent meals, full-fat dairy products, additional carbohydrates. Lots of vegetables and fruit throughout. This was by no means unhealthy. I am now the proprietor of a body with more lean mass, and (yes) more body fat. I had to go above and beyond my previous “high” weight to restore my menstrual function, and I’m maintaining here without exactly trying. I exercise regularly. I eat when I’m hungry and as my schedule allows. I eat a lot of vegetables. I don’t usually get enough sunlight or enough sleep.

I’m not entirely comfortable at this weight, but this is where my body wants to be right now. This is where I can drop and do sprint workouts whenever, make the half hour trip to school in the morning and back again in the afternoon (weather permitting). This is where I can lift heavy (for me) weights, or skate or ski, or attend random classes, or train for a 10k race. I can spontaneously go to yoga (as is the plan tonight) with a friend and stretch beyond what I believe I can do.

I have health-related goals, like working out more regularly or attending yoga classes at least once a week because they relax me or going to bed earlier to ensure I sleep enough or walking in the sunlight to maximize my vitamin D even in these frigid winter months, but weight loss or anything related to food-restriction can’t be a part of those.

Just a friendly reminder that body fat is an endocrine organ. Hunger/satiety hormones such as leptin, grehlin, and neuropeptide y are directly related to body fat levels; these communicate with the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus then uses this hormonal information to regulate a huge number of physiological processes, such as appetite and temperature and yes, fertility (generally via pro-hormones). This is a gross over-simplification, but all that to say that we actually do need body fat, and sometimes fat gain can be the primary goal. This culture of fat-fearing needs to stop.

Women need enough body fat to be fertile. End of story. While I have no intention of having children any time soon, I value the proper functioning of my body and see my menstrual cycle as a sign that I’m on the right track, health-wise. Enough body fat also regulates appetite, and I’m not chronically hungry any more (meaning I can think of things beyond my next meal). These are well worth the “extra” (required) weight.

January

January is probably my least favourite month.

Maybe it’s the post-holiday letdown, or the whole “getting back to the grind” thing – those likely have as much to do with it as does the weather (cold, dark with slowly-lenthening days, dreary). Whatever it is, I’m feeling a distinct sense of disquiet, as though something’s amiss. The feeling that right at this moment, I’m missing out on something and I’ll only remember what it is post facto.

Without getting into specifics, I’ve been dealing with some major anxiety as of late. I’m sitting with it, trying to observe it without reasoning with it or rationalizing it – I know it’s all irrational on an intellectual level, but the fact that there’s a large piece of my brain (another level) trying to convince me that I’m a most horrid human being is a bit trying when you’re attempting to go about your day-to-day existence.

I’ve been working a lot recently – close to full time hours, while attending school full time (of course). The busyness helps, as has taking some yoga and fitness classes. My course load feels is lighter – only one lab course, and it all takes place in the gym.

I’m still working on figuring out what I want, and primordially what I need – but the only thing I’ve figured out there is that I don’t need to be working so hard and so much. Oh, and also, that I’m (still) craving a season of rest – that is badly needed. That feels like an impossibility for the unforeseeable future. It’s a cycle – I need this workload to cope with this anxiety, but the workload itself generates more of the latter. I’m working through it one step at a time. Trying to be patient. I’ve started so many things, I can’t possibly leave them half-finished, and nor do I particularly want to.

Since that was a bit of a downer beginning to this post, I’m now going to list some of the things I actually do like about January:

Skating

– Skating on Ramsay lake

– Lengthening days (slowly but surely!)

– Alpine skiing

– The start of a new school semester (under four months until summer break!)

– The star of a new year + the motivation for change (however short lived) that comes with

– Multiple birthdays to celebrate

Last Day

Today, I write my final exam of the semester.

That doesn’t quite have the impact I’d like it to have. Let me try again.

This evening, after 50 weeks straight of intellectual work, marks the beginning of my “Christmas holidays”. In quotations, because I’ll still be working and visiting people and cleaning my room (the struggle is real) and performing in a couple of concerts and that review paper will likely require at least another revision or two, but there’s nothing that will require CONSTANT VIGILANCE and LAB REPORT WRITE-UPS and IMMEDIATE STUDY FOLLOWING YET ANOTHER MIDTERM.

I’m dying for a break. I fear that my exam-writing stamina will fail me this afternoon, but I can hardly bring myself to care (don’t worry, the adrenaline should kick in as soon as I’m poised to begin writing).

To say I feel burnt out is an understatement.

I already have a mental (and physical, thanks to iCal) agenda for this week – it looks as busy as ever. Next week?

Bare, save Christmas. And though I know that this week will be taken up with friends and family and work, I. Can’t. Wait.

For now, my calendar looks bare. I can’t bring myself to pencil anything in right now. Just the aesthetic of a clean slate is so appealing. But tomorrow, or perhaps this evening, I’ll pencil in one two thing(s):

A day to myself. (And a day to clean my room).

I write my exam from 2 to 5 tonight, then rush off to play in a charitable Christmas concert. Following this, I’m going to pass out in my bed with a book in hand and sleep in until 8 (or, more realistically, until 7 or so) and get to work tomorrow around 9:00. It’s nice to be working just down the street again. After work, I may head over to the lab, or I may head home and begin to purge my closet again. And do all the laundry. Two loads – one for bedding, and one for all the clothes I currently own (I don’t have many any more, which is insanely liberating). In the evening, I’m celebrating the end of exams with the boy (who finishes tomorrow afternoon).

I have nothing specific planned for Wednesday. A dress rehearsal in the evening, and work (perhaps). More cleaning. I’d like to be done that by Friday. I also need to go do some Christmas shopping.

My mind is a mess of scattered thoughts.

Holiday Madness

Snow has been falling and melting since Halloween, taunting us with the promise of a white Christmas, only to be snatched away again as another warm spell hits. As of this morning, we have two – maybe three – inches of slightly crusty snow on the ground. The southern part of the province was blasted yesterday, but by some miracle of the multiple lakes governing our weather systems, we were missed.

Around me people are shopping and decorating; others are giving somewhat depressing lectures as to why they don’t buy into the holiday season, muttering things that half-resonate with me like “Consumerism and materialism”. To a friend, I casually comment that I kind of agree with the sentiment. They nod, only half paying attention, eyes shadowed with that familiar anxiety I know all too well.

The pile-up of exams and end-of-term assignments leaves little room to focus on other things, which I why I dub the Christmas lead-up weeks my “least favourite time of the year”. Not because I hate Christmas – quite the opposite in fact – but because I tend to feel absolutely burnt out and “done”. Between exams and abstracts and band and choir concerts and simple menial things I should do like clean my room and laundry (hah), I go to bed exhausted but unable to sleep, planning my agenda for the next day.

The new year presents “fresh starts” that I seize with gusto, adding more and more things to my plate until I’m just trying to keep afloat again, promising emptily that this time – this time – I’ll do less. Eleven months later, December rolls around once more, and the phrase that most often escapes my lips is “I’m so tired”, or it’s slight variation, “I’m effing exhausted”. There is no sympathy – my peers are in the same boat as me, and the older adults sit by knowingly and promise, “It gets worse.”

“I just want a day to myself,” I lament to the boy, typing up an essay with frantic fingers, a third cup of coffee close to hand. He gives me the cynical look of someone who’s spent two and a half years with my madness, and says, “Stephie, there’s no way you’ll take a day to yourself. You’d find something to do.”

“Would not,” I argue. “I might go to the gym, since that happens about once a month anyways, and maybe I’d clean my room, since that happens about never, but the rest of the day I’d just relax.” He rolls his eyes at me. “I know you.” He says simply, which I don’t deny. I’ve recently found a new job, and will likely be spending the holiday weeks training and working.

I point this out, half in desperation, half excited, worrying that I’ll watch my free time go in a blur of coffee cups. “You’ll love it,” He says with a smile, and pulls me close. “And you’ll have lots of time to spend with yourself, and with me, and with your family.” Which is exactly what matters anyways.

* * *

I love to keep busy. In part, I think it’s some kind of anxiety coping mechanism. If you move fast enough, it can’t catch you. If you’re contributing, you’re not wasting space. This seems to be a common theme among my peers.

The media proclaims that, according to research, we early twenty-somethings belong to an entitled generation, expecting gold stars on everything we do. While I’m sure that holds true for some, I don’t really see it in the majority of my consorts. Rather, some of us work ourselves raw, fearing that in a world where “everyone succeeds”, we’ll be the ones that fail. Others quit “while they’re ahead” – why even try to keep up? In all cases, I think we’re terrified we’re not living up to our full potential. I’d go so far as to call this a cultural disorder.

Busy and productive are the principle measurements of success; we get off on comparing ourselves to what everyone else is doing. “Oh, you think YOU’RE busy? Well, let me tell you what I’ve done this month/week/today.” We pass this off as commiserating during our half-hour meetings for coffee with friends, sandwiched between two commitments off our ever growing lists of “things to do today”.

Sometimes we’re just venting, but I also think that often we’re seeking validation and approval. There’s nothing wrong with this in itself – it’s the fact that the fact that we’re putting aside self-care in the name of attaining some sort of arbitrary height of productivity that gets to me. I can definitely see something wrong here. I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive to be productive, but when did neglecting our wellbeing become so socially acceptable?

The other side to my personal “busy-ness” is that I love to do so many different things. I love to create music and play sports and go to the gym and bake things and curl up with a cup of tea and a book and attend school and learn as much as I can and help others out and play video games and travel the world and go hiking and skiing and swimming and skating and read articles and write. I just want to be so engaged in everything all at once, and I try to split myself up in as many directions as possible in order to do everything I want to do.

Coming to terms with the fact that I can’t actually do everything is proving to be a challenge.

* * *

In the next seven days, I have two exams left to write and a paper to review; one rehearsal and one band concert; another rehearsal and two choir concerts; a lab lunch, and work training. That’s essentially it. My plans for the three or so weeks off I have include working, yes, and cleaning my room and sorting out more of my clothes, because this is absolutely something that needs doing. But I also plan on taking at least a few days all to myself, and many days to spend with the boy and my family, and at least a few days to spend with my friends returning from out of town for the holidays.

I don’t love the weeks leading up to the holidays, but once I get past these we enter my favourite time of year, so I can’t really complain. I love the Christmas season because it’s time of rest and recharge following a year of growth. Maybe in the upcoming year I’ll focus more on my well-being, on not overwhelming myself. On seeing what I can cut out as opposed to what I can add in. I feel it’s time for a season of a different sort of growth.

Northern Girl Wardrobe in Hues of Grey and Purple

So, I’ve been playing around on Polyvore; turns out, you can post “sets” you create to your WordPress. I’ve just been creating outfit mood boards as I move towards minimizing my wardrobe and creating a more streamlined outfitting approach. This is inspired mostly off of items I already own; of course, I don’t actually own the designer copies of items. It’s purely fun.🙂

Northern Girl Wardrobe in Hues of Grey and Purple