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5 Things: From Working Out to Bachelor Mondays

I was inspired by Kylie from @immaeatthat to try a "5 Things" blog with my own spin. Here are 5 things on my mind this week that are helping to keep me balanced in one way or another:

1. Movement: Even Demi Lovato is Talking About It

Yep, I'm still out here trying to examine my relationship with movement and exercise. Naturally, food gets a LOT of attention in the recovery space. It only makes sense. However, exercise and toxic fitness culture are something that needs to be talked about more. Some accounts I follow are shedding some light on these important topics, like Dr. Colleen Reichmann. I really loved her post (below) about how sometimes, working out isn't the healthiest option. In her caption, she says "...but exercise isn't neurochemically innocent for all people. For many, movement can become punishment...a guilt induced regiment for trying to find worth"

I'm enjoying seeing some of this content because it really forces me to think about the things I might be burying in the back of my my mind. This seems to be the one area I really struggle with, even after years of pursuing full recovery. I'll be honest, it's hard for me to admit. To keep pushing forward, I just keep surrounding myself with educational, helpful content that makes my eyes open a little wider every day. I just started the book "Train Happy" by Tally Rye - I LOVE her mindset on body positive exercise. I also loved Demi Lovato on Ashley Graham's Pretty Big Deal podcast. She talks a TON about her own recovery, how she tricked herself into thinking she was recovered but used rigorous workouts as a cover-up for exercise addiction, and how she's tired of "running herself into the ground with workouts." See a clip HERE. Overall, I'm just trying to move when I want, doing what feels good, and what makes me happy.

2. Self Care | Skin Care

I'm finding some balance by trying to take care of myself, including my skin. One brand I found that I really love is Cocokind. They are all natural and a lot of their products are even vegan. They are chemical/toxin free, cruelty free, and use mostly recyclable packaging. You can read and understand every ingredient, and I love how gentle their products are. I've slowly been building up quite the stash - it's really important to me to try and keep my beauty regimen somewhat 'clean.' I know this is really hard to do and I won't say mine 100% is because it's not, but skincare has been one place where I start to do this. Also, it helps that they're really affordable. My favorites are the oil to milk cleanser, the vitamin c serum + glow essence duo, and the resurfacing sleep mask (a plant-based alternative to harsh retinol).

Since this pic, I've added the new Turmeric Tonic spot treatment and the Watermelon Hemp Oil. I'm loving both.

3. Making Food "Easy"

This is a busy season of life. I'm in my last semester of grad school, and I've spent the last 1.5 years living half the week in Marquette and half the week at home. I used to put a ton of pressure on myself to meal prep on Sundays under the belief that if I didn't, I'd lose control of myself by eating out too much. It worked...for a while. Honestly, I hate meal prepping. It was expensive, I got bored of what I was eating, and I kind of hate leftovers. I never actually wanted to eat food that I'd cooked on Sunday on Wednesday/Thursday. Of course it took me 3.5 semesters to find my groove, and now I'm almost done with school. Here's what's working for me now to minimize stress around food:

  • Always having breakfast staples helps me ensure I can get my day off to a good start. Usually, it's some mix of toast w/ butter (or carb), protein (I love the Applegate chicken breakfast sausage), and fruit. This is the one meal I do make sure is taken care of for the week.

  • Redefining convenience foods for lunch/dinner. "Convenience" foods doesn't always have to mean fast food like McDonald's. I've found plenty of convenient options that are somewhat healthy and make me feel good. My favorite include the frozen meals by Evol, the soup and salad or hot food bar at the food co-op, or Taco Tuesday with my girlfriends. When you don't have a ton of time to cook or meal prep, there are options that are nourishing and within budget. Just because it didn't come from your kitchen doesn't mean you have to feel guilty about it.

  • Grace and flexibility. If I'm on the go and didn't plan my food, I allow myself to eat what I want and what works for me depending on my current situation. One of these urgent "need food now and didn't plan" situations occurred last week. It led me to discover that Starbucks actually has some pretty good sandwiches. I'm learning that if you just give yourself some lee-way and let go of the reigns a little bit, food decisions become so. much. easier. Lunch doesn't have to consumer your entire head space. Find something good, eat it, and move on to more important things.

  • Meal kit delivery services. When I'm home from school, the last thing I want to worry about it what's for dinner. That's why Jake and I have been experimenting with some meal kit deliveries like Hello Fresh and Home Chef. They've worked spectacularly for us. Not only is the decision on what to make easy, but there's little to no waste (hard to achieve when cooking for 2). We've really enjoyed the meals for the most part. I'm not sure if we'll continue due to the price, but I can say that it eliminated a ton of stress from my weekly routine having just 2 dinners planned out and portioned perfectly.

An urgent "need food now and didn't plan" situation turned into a super-enjoyable discovery meal at Starbucks

4. Time with Friends + Bachelor Mondays

In this season of life, I spend a lot of time doing school-related things. When I'm home, I also spend a ton of time alone getting reading done, writing papers, or worrying about my future (haha YUP). As a result, I've learned that it's critical for me to find some balance by spending time with friends. They fill me up and make me feel like 'me' so I can continue moving forward on everything else.

One way I've worked this in is by attending Bachelor Mondays at my friend Laura's place. 6 of us gather every week from 8-10 PM to watch the episode. I's been a joy, and having something to look forward to makes the week so much better. I've even met a few new friends through it. We're all a little tired from the Monday and all of us have somewhere to be the next morning, but I love that week after week we all show up for those 2 hours of "fun."

We also did a recent "Galentine's Day Dinner" for those who were in town. The 4 of us went out to a fancy dinner and grabbed some drinks after. It was just what we all needed to catch up, get some good laughs, and prepare for another week.

5. Saying "NO" and Staying In

If you've made it to number 5, one important way I refresh and find some balance is by spending time alone doing non-school related things (like reading good romance novels or watching my 13 TV shows) or by spending some good ole' quality time with my husband. Sometimes, this requires me to say no to other things. We don't get many nights off together, so we really try to prioritize at least 1 night a week for each other. Sometimes, this means meeting friends for put-put golf on a Sunday afternoon or ordering pizza to our favorite brewery with them. Other times, It means we go on a "date night" to Culver's and then sit on our couch and watch Ocean's 8 eating a pint of takeout custard. It's the little things...but they're crucial! I feel so much better about an upcoming week when I've been able to spend some time by myself, spend some time with J, and fit in a good amount of relaxation.

The most critical piece of my "balance." He reminds me to laugh, lets me make bad jokes, and lets me dream all the crazy things.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this "5 Things" post. It seemed a lot easier to talk briefly about 5 things than to make 5 enormous blog posts about them. I like the idea of shorter-blurbs about life and what's been on my mind in relation to all things. Feel free to share with me in the comment section anything that's helping keep you balanced lately.

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