Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I just joined the Official Stress Busting Challenge, so I'm going to do what I've always sworn to never do because it's just too depressing and actually catalogue all of the stressors in my life.
The big one is work. Since I started with this small environmental non-profit two and a half years ago, we've had 11 people leave (out of a staff of 9). In March, our water policy director left for a better opportunity. We finally replaced her in July...in the interim months, I did her job and mine (despite a knee injury that had me laid up for May and June and in physical therapy until the end of July). Our new water policy director was amazing; unfortunately, she left at the end of November. So I'm back to doing both jobs again. Oh, and two employees were fired 6 weeks before our annual forum, so I got to do a good portion of both of their jobs as well for most of October and the first half of November.
I'm a city commissioner with the Go Greener Commission, and it takes a lot more time than I originally anticipated. I started a new educational program about phosphorous in lawn fertilizers and there's been some controversy within the commission over that...so I've been spending a lot of time researching and finding justification for the program.
I'm also a founding member and monthly columnist for the local independent newspaper. So in addition to working 60-70 hours every week, I also research and write at least 2-3 articles every month. And I have to attend monthly meetings (luckily at a brewing company) and help with distributions and advertisements. So that takes up a good chunk of my time too.
I wanted to start grad school this fall, but because I spent most of the year covering other people's jobs in addition to mine I didn't get a single application finished. Not. One. This is the second time I've put my educational goals on hold for my job. The first time was in 2008...and after Obama was elected, I honestly thought that the country was ready to start addressing our pollution problems and we would be able to make some positive changes. But politics and the ambivalence of Americans to the fact that the way we grow crops, raise livestock, power our homes, and transport ourselves is slowly poisoning all of us is just more stress, so I'm going to skip right over that big disappointment and move on to the other stressors.
My last boyfriend and I split up in March. No one since. Seeing as how I don't have time to sleep as it is, I really don't feel too broken up by that. But my cousin, who is almost three years younger than me, just had her third baby so the whole family is pressuring me about my biological clock. Which I will get to in a moment. This ex is still calling and texting me, and I feel really guilty about a post-break-up incident at his sister's wedding, so I have no idea how to handle the situation. He's a great guy, but not right for me. But I don't know if we can be friends now. Add in the fact that over New Year's, another ex started hinting that he wanted to get back together, I'm drowning in exes, but no new guys that I actually want to date.
As for the biological clock, I turn 28 in a couple of months. Not that old, really, but it means that all of my friends are getting married, having kids, and/or moving in with their significant others. In the last year alone, two friends have gotten engaged, three have gotten married, and another two have had babies. I'm not ready yet, I know that, but still.
As for turning 28 -- a couple of months ago my dad told me I was pushing 30. SO NOT TRUE!! When you're only 27, you are not pushing 30! But ever since, I've been panicking. I keep thinking that I see gray hairs (luckily, none so far, but I'm still freaking out about it!) and wrinkles. I know, at 27 I shouldn't be panicking about this yet. But I am, and it's causing me a lot of stress.
I'm starting to panic again just looking at this list! My whole life is stress. That's what I run on; stress and caffeine, and cigarettes. Now I'm trying to quit smoking, so just stress and caffeine, and more stress. Maybe I just need to find a new career -- but I love my job!! I love the work I do. I just don't like the work environment (no pun intended) and the excessive hours. I like being single with no kids, but my friends are all at different points in their lives, it seems. Maybe I need new friends?
And I'm a perfectionist. On top of everything else, all of the extra work I have to do, I'm a perfectionist AND a bit of a control freak. So I can't delegate, or put together a quick rough draft...I have to do everything perfectly and I just don't trust other people to help me with anything. And I hate it when anyone knows that I'm not perfect, or if anyone thinks I'm not in control, so I don't talk about anything. I don't talk about my problems, or my feelings, not even with my parents. My brother is the only one I trust that much, and he just moved to Pennsylvania in September.
Argh!! As long as I can keep everything pushed to the back of my mind and only subconsciously let it out while I'm on the treadmill or beating up a workout bag I manage to not be overwhelmed. Not sure it's the healthiest way to go, but there it is. It's how I cope. Hopefully this team will be good for me, and teach me to get all of this out and stop worrying.
Thursday, January 06, 2011
I was so excited about the new year. Even though I had been splurging on cookies and candy through the holiday season, I felt like I could get back on track pretty easily. But I've missed a few steps, apparently!
This week, I did pretty well...lots of salads and raw veggies, seeds, nuts, and other healthy foods. And then last night, I went through two jars of nacho cheese, a whole bag of tortilla chips, and almost a whole six pack of beer. Don't ask me why I even bought it all! It just seemed like a good idea at the time!
I've never had this problem before. I could usually stop at one small glass of wine, and I never ate more than 2,000 calories in a sitting since I started with SP almost a year ago. For some reason, I lost that moderation ability in the last month. But now, I know that I need to watch myself. I don't have the self-control to stop at one or two chips, so they can't be in my house. I don't have the self-control to stop after one beer, so they can't be in my house.
I've heard that cheese is addictive. It stimulates the same part of your brain as other drugs, and is often a favorite of emotional eaters because it can reduce the symptoms of depression. Maybe that's why I always want nachos? Or maybe over the holidays I so badly OD-ed on sugar and carbs that now I'm partially addicted to the sugar rushes, and I just need to break the addiction?
My parents have a theory...I crave cheesy foods because I'm not getting enough of all my amino acids. I'm a vegetarian, so I guess this is possible. But I'm so careful -- I eat a wide variety of beans, whole grains, vegetables, and cottage cheese/greek yogurt regularly. At my last physical, I didn't come up deficient in proteins or iron or calcium, but I was a little low in B-12. My doctor didn't even prescribe shots for me, though. She just told me to incorporate a supplement into my regiment.
I don't know why I have been craving all of these carbs, but I'm treating it like an addiction at this point. Cold turkey for at least 21 days (that's the length of time it takes to break an addiction, right?) and then slowly incorporate a few things back into my diet. I'm going to make sure I have plenty of yogurt and raw nuts and such on hand, in case it is the protein I'm craving. And I'm going to buy some detoxifying tea, and drink that whenever I've had a bad day at work and want a beer.
If this is a response to stress, which given my 70-hour work weeks and multiple volunteer commitments is entirely possible, then I need to find a healthy way to let it out. I was already resolved to train for a 5K and do yoga more regularly; now I am really committed to making sure I have an exercise plan that will help me release that stress in a positive way.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
After months of nagging after his almost-heart-attack, my dad finally went to his cardiologist for a check-up. Having been diagnosed with COPD and sleep apnea, and having surgery to fix his deviated septum to fix both problems, I think he was expecting to hear that he was cured.
Not so -- it turns out his triglyceride levels were excessively high (yes, not just high, but EXCESSIVELY high) and he is pre-diabetic. His cardiologist told him to visit a dietitian and go on a short-term low-carb diet to get his triglycerides and blood sugar under control. I didn't even have to nag this time, he set the appointment up himself.
Then, the next evening, he got a foot-long tuna salad sub from Subway...and told me the dietitian said he was allowed to eat it. Hmmm....
What does everyone know about triglycerides? I did some basic research, and it seems like he needs to eat lots of raw veggies, some fresh oily fish like tuna and salmon (though not fish salads that are mostly mayo!), and moderate amounts of whole grains. Is that right?
Don't get me wrong, I love my mom to pieces, but her idea of cooking is adding pesto to a jar of marinara sauce and throwing it on top of pasta (with lots of cheese) for an Italian bake. I want to take some recipes over and teach them both how to cook the right foods for his new dietary needs, but I'm afraid that I'll feed him the wrong foods.
Has anyone here gone through this before? I bought him the American Heart Association cookbook for Father's Day, but he 'lost' it...what kinds of foods does he need to eat?
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
In honor of receiving invitations to our 10-year high school reunion, my two best friends and I are compiling a joint "before we turn 30" list. I'm feeling good about this list; every time I feel like I'm in a rut, I'll have to look at it again, just to remind myself that I've come so far!
Let me know what we're missing! Everyone should join in this debate; life is not a solo activity and I won't know what I'm missing until someone tells me!
30 X 30:
1. Learn a foreign language
2. Take a spontaneous road trip
3. Take a martial arts class
4. Play in the rain
5. Play in the mud
6. Kiss in the rain
7. Ask out a stranger
8. Take a midnight walk on the beach
9. Take a kayak/canoe trip
10. Raft the Snake River
11. Visit at least 3 national parks
12. Hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
13. Ride a horse
14. Hug a tree
15. Swim with the dolphins
16. Climb a mountain
17. Go scuba diving
18. Go sky diving
19. Visit a foreign country
20. Go backpacking
21. Volunteer for something worthwhile
22. Find a career, not a job
23. Learn to tango
24. Get political
25. Be able to say "I did it!" at least once
26. Brag about yourself
27. Take your parents out to dinner
28. Realize that you're a role model
29. Feel real happiness
30. Look in the mirror and loved who you've become
I learned Japanese. I spontaneously drove up to the Dunes for a day (didn't even have my bathing suit, but it was worth it!) I took Tai Kwon Do and Aikido. I play in the rain every time it rains, and in the mud whenever it rains enough. I kissed in the rain, even if he wasn't Mr. Right. I asked out a very casual aquaintance, I maintain that it counts. I kayak almost every weekend in the summer, and even own my own kayak now. I've ridden a horse. I work for an environmental non-profit, of course I've hugged a tree (now I just need to chain myself to one). Does Canada count as a foreign country? I volunteer as a writer for an alternative newspaper, at the humane society, and at the womens shelter. My job is definitely a career! I'm a commissioner for the city council. I've said "I did it!" at least ten times just looking at this list, and I think admitting that IS bragging. I've not only taken my parents out to dinner, I've taken my grandparents out to dinner. And I like the person I'm becoming, even if I'm not all the way there yet.
So that's more than half my list. I'm going to take a two-week vacation next summer to backpack through Yellowstone and Glacier national parks (and hopefully the Tetons too), and I plan to raft down the Snake while I'm there. I plan to start my masters in 2011, and I am already filling out paperwork for the Masters International program through the Peace Corps, so there's another foreign country and more volunteer work (plus personal growth).
The rest can wait...if I make it all the way through this list before I'm 30, then what will I have to look forward to?
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