The beauty in the ugly

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The end of February always seems the dreariest. I’m not sure if its the final stormy feelings that approach when you’re just ready to be done with winter, or simply a gathering of unfortunate events always around this time of year. We all know that February can notoriously be the worst, with all of that snow and a more difficult time getting outside and seeing your friends, it just really isn’t conducive to staying happy.

However, the other night I was discussing these feelings and events with my partner, as well as some of the hardest times that I’ve been through and what got me through them. They quickly pointed out that these tough times also seemed to be some of the happiest memories.

For instance, in my last two weeks of college I found myself dumped and terrified about moving halfway across the country and away from the life and friends I had come to love. The piling of feelings quickly took a toll on me, leaving me in quite the mopey state where all I wanted to do was linger in between being awake and asleep while watching repeated episodes of terrible television. My friends, being the most incredible group of people I can imagine, simply joined me. No questions asked, no hassling about getting showered and becoming a human being, they all simply got out their blankets and pillows and joined me in my living room wallowing. It turned in to be the longest slumber party and one of my fondest memories of my entire college career. Sometimes when your heart is at its heaviest you find waking up to be the hardest part of it all because everything comes whirling back so quickly, but instead each morning I awoke to all of the people I loved, and who loved me, surrounding me ready to be there for whatever I need.

Obviously my current winter blues aren’t anything of comparison to that time in my life, and now most of my friends live all across the world, but I think it is a good reminder that even your darkest moments can turn into the brightest of lights when you look back.

In other news, I decided to start an herb garden! It came out of a combination of studying agro-ecology and, lets be honest, spending too much time on pinterest but I’ve done it! Creating new, green life seemed like a perfect way to brighten up this winter, especially since Minneapolis currently finds itself under quite the ridiculous amount of snow! 

I will be sure to keep you all updated on the progress of my new found hobby! So far I have planted oregano, parsley, cilantro, mint, basil and thyme (aka I bought the “Italian” packet at Home Depot and added in some green smoothie ingredients). All in all it was only about $20, and really brightened my day!

My little seedlings so far – 

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If gardening isn’t your thing, check out these other 50 ways to take a break. Some days all you need is that 15 minute brain break in order to get yourself back on track!

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Eating and Happiness

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What more needs to be said, right?

In August of last year I decided I was going to become a runner, and I was going to complete a half marathon in May the weekend before graduating with my masters degree. I started off doing interval training, walking and running about four miles every other day. Within a month I got up to running all four miles, and eating absolutely anything I wanted. When you’re burning that much on a daily basis,  you really can. And to be quite honest, that was one of my top motivations for running. I. Love. Eating.

Then within two months I had shin splints, and I’ve been battling them on and off ever since. Due to being extremely flat footed, it’s not looking like I’ll ever be the half-marathon-runner I had hoped to be (doctors were consulted, I promise I’m not just giving up easily), but I will be able to consistently go between 8 – 12 miles a week… in six weeks. Until then, no running.

The worst part of this story is I still love eating! I’ve never been one that can diet, I usually stick to a strict plan for two weeks before having a mental breakdown bag full of cookies and calling it quits. So obviously I can’t be eating everything in sight, but I also can’t diet, which leads me to playing around with a lot of different ideas and recipes that I wouldn’t have considered before.

Like, did you know you could put greens in your smoothie and have it still taste like fruit? Okay, you’re right, you can still kinda taste the greens (I trusted everyone who told me you didn’t taste it at all… they lied.), but you mostly taste the fruit! And I find that the more I dabble in fun new recipes while mixing in my old favorites, the more fun I have, and thus I still enjoy eating even though it’s green!

When it comes down to it, your health and how you feel about yourself is so closely tied to your happiness. We often times “just don’t have time” to eat healthy, and in doing that we are only cheating ourselves. You have enough time in the day to please all of those around you, you just have to start telling yourself that making yourself happy is just as valuable. Ending the day knowing you got a solid workout and ate like a champion nutritionist adds such a bonus, and if you’re anything like me you just need to consistently mix things up to keep yourself interested! And when I say health I don’t mean just working out and eating healthy, I mean putting down your cell phone and the remote, opening up a good book, and calling up a great friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while. Technology is an incredible thing, but you absolutely cannot let it rule (and ruin) your life.

Here’s some things that I’ve tried this week (workouts and recipes) that I found to be fun, useful, and successful in my daily routine. You can also find all of these on my pinterest account.

Your Health by the Numbers 

Meals to Boost Your Mood

Leg Strengthening Workout

Fun Abs and Butt Workout

Total Body, I Don’t-Really-Have-Time-But-Crap-I-Should-Workout Workout

Paleo Food Guide (I’m still trying out the Paleo thing… but I’m liking it!)

Creating a Green Smoothie

Happy Monday!