Ebb and Flow

I have had an interesting semester, to say the least, and it has been chock full of challenges. I have had to keep reminding myself that things will get better. On Monday, they started looking up. Today, not so much. I’ve been cursing myself up and down because I feel like so many of the things that have gone wrong, I should have done something to prevent them from happening. “Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda, right?” As usual, though, so many of them are out of my control that its silly that I’m so stressed out.

I just saw a picture on Facebook with an extremely long quote, but only part of it was relevant to me. It hit me hard, though. What I took from it was this: If I didn’t experience all of these challenging situations, I would take advantage of every other day that is “good”. I have to experience the bad to truly be able to experience the good.

This doesn’t destroy my stress or change anything that has already happened today, but it does put a small smile on my face. I’ve had some really great times in my life, and I’m looking forward to many more. To get there, I just have to endure through days like these.

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No pressure, No diamonds.

 

Balance

I could kick myself for falling and breaking my foot seven weeks ago. Yes, you read that right. It’s been that long and I’m STILL incapacitated. Something that I’ve been struggling with throughout this entire process is balance. balanceMore specifically balance between mental and physical health. Problems with both aspects of health are stressful. If you feel crappy or are injured, it’s hard to get anything done. If you’re upset or down on yourself, it’s also difficult to complete tasks.

I have been told many times by my doctor (and my family and friends) to stay off my feet as much as possible, keep my broken foot elevated and iced. I’ve been told this so many times that it’s like a broken record constantly playing in my head, “Go sit down, Anna.” “Ask for help when you need it.” “Be careful today, Anna.” I’m sure that they all wanted just that to happen, just so I won’t EVER forget it.

My struggle with this is that I still have a million things that I have to do every day. Well, maybe not literally one million, but it seems like it. Part of my daily responsibilities includes keeping my apartment clean and tidy, which is not something that I can do while sitting on my bum all the time. It’s not so much a responsibility as it is a stressor. I hate messiness. BUT, I’ve been a good girl and have listened… mostly.

I had been putting off doing my dishes for an embarrassing amount of time because 1. I hate doing dishes, and 2. I wasn’t really supposed to be standing for any length of time. Wednesday was a stressful day. I walked in to my kitchen to get a glass of water, took a look at my counter, and I lost it. So I just started cleaning. And cleaning. And cleaning. It probably wasn’t the best thing to do for my foot (and I have been feeling the repercussions since then), but at the same time, I felt like a HUGE weight had been lifted off of my chest.

Now I know you’re saying, “she’s lost it again within her ramblings…” but I haven’t. Well, maybe I have, but I have a point. All functional relationships have give and take, including the relationships within yourself. I had to forgo some of my physical health in order to mentally feel better. AND IT WORKED.

Not everyone is in my situation, and maybe yours is reversed. listWhat I want you to do is to think about what is bothering you or stressing you out, make a list and leave it in front of you. Take your pen and cross off the things that you absolutely have NO control over. Pick something simple on your list, and tackle it. I promise that after finishing the task, you’ll feel enormously better.

Accepting Assistance

My school personality is very different from how my close friends know me. Growing up with Mom as a teacher, I was taught that you don’t cause problems in class, you are respectful to the teacher, and if for some reason I got in trouble, I knew the punishment at home would be much worse than anything that would happen at school. So I’ve adopted a sort of wallflower personality in the classroom. I like to stay out of everyone’s way and just do what I’m supposed to be doing so as not to upset the teacher or cause distractions. It has been hard to maintain this persona while on crutches. They’re loud and obnoxious and as soon as I walk in the room, everyone seems to notice. It is beyond embarrassing.

Another part of my personality is independence (stubbornness?), which is also hard to maintain while using crutches. I hate having people help me with anything, and if there is any way I can do it myself, you can bet I’m going to.

Having people help me was nice at first, but now it’s downright frustrating. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the help, because I definitely do appreciate it, it’s that I always feel like I’m troublesome and a bother to my teachers and classmates. It’s exasperating.
I was wondering why I was having such a hard time just accepting that, for now, I need the help that people are offering. I have come to the conclusion that its not entirely because of the personality that I have, but it’s because I have trouble accepting that I’m worth the effort that other people are putting forth to help me, even if its simply holding open the door for a few seconds.

I’ve always had trouble accepting things for myself whether it was giving myself some time to relax or a gift from someone else. I never felt like I had “earned” it. But what I’m coming to realize is that some things you don’t have to “earn”; there are some things that you can just receive and accept, including gifts to yourself.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that the reason that people are holding doors open for me and helping me out with things is not because they feel sorry for me, at least that’s not the whole reason. It’s for the same reason that I hold doors open and help with things I’m not expected to; it’s because I simply want to help, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Those people aren’t judging me or my worth, they’re just helping.

After figuring all of this out, it’s made my days (somewhat) less stressful. It’s easier to accept the help than it is to worry constantly about how I’m going to do things on my own. Something I still have to work on, though, is asking for help when I need it, but that’s for another time. For now, I’m going to celebrate what I’ve figured out on my own.

SUMMER

I LOVE summer. I’ve always loved summertime. My mom is a teacher so she always had the time off to spend with me and my siblings. We have been lucky and have always had some sort of family vacation or stay-cation. My favorite part about summer, though?

Summer foods. Watermelon. Strawberries. Watermelon. Pineapple. Watermelon. Kiwi. Watermelon. Blackberries.

Did I mention WATERMELON? Many times my grandpa has looked at me and said, “Girl, you’re going to turn in to a watermelon!”

March is “National Nutrition Month”. I know, I know. It’s also “International Listening Awareness Month”, “National Clean Up Your IRS Act Month”, and “Supply Management Month” among MANY others. People hear the word “Nutrition” and groan, sometimes audibly, but nutrition doesn’t have to be an annoyance in your life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a crazed health nut. I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas and have even been called a chocoholic. But I know that moderation is the key. Now I know you’re probably saying, “She’s lost it now. She’s rambling about things that are completely different…”

Actually…

One of my favorite parts about summer fruits is that they help to satisfy my sweet tooth. There is nothing better than a sweet, juicy watermelon. But it’s more than just helping to satisfy your serving of fruit. That delectable WATERmelon is a great source of … you guessed it! … WATER! Two birds with one stone? Ill take it!

Nutrition doesn’t have to be scary. The key is moderation of the wonderful chocolate treats and the good stuff your body needs.

If you’re a Mizzou student, you can meet with a health coach to learn more about nutrition and healthy eating. If not, the CDC has an introduction to nutrition to check out! Challenge yourself to learn something new about nutrition every day. It’ll be a lot less stress on your body if you’re giving it the stuff it needs.

Now… about that watermelon…

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Why? Why? Why, Annie? Why? Why?

Having a broken foot has left me with a lot of time to sit on my butt and as I’m pretty much burnt out on television, I have started thinking. A LOT. I hate judging/being judged but it seems as if it’s almost a “normal” part of life. I’m not just talking about saying to your friend, “OMG! Her shoes are so hideous!” as you are walking down the street. Submitting all of my applications was scary because I knew I was being judged and compared against five hundred (or more) other applicants. I could not figure out why I kept getting so stressed out about these people judging me; it’s not as if I’d even met them before. Then I would feel myself getting angry. I would wonder what gave them the right to even be judging me, and why they got to be on the committee, and I would just wind up judging these people I don’t even know! It was a vicious cycle, but I just couldn’t seem to pull myself out of it.886619_10151557488713455_742234898_o

I spent this past weekend at home, and it was something that was definitely needed. I ended up spending a lot of time with my cousin Mckenzi (right), and time with a two year old is never boring. She is definitely in the “Why?” phase of her life, and is without a doubt questioning everything. At one point I was incredibly frustrated by her constant questioning, mostly because I was out of answers. I turned to my mom and asked, “When is she going to grow out of this?” She answered that she didn’t know, but she hoped that she never did grow out of it. She said that it was wonderful to constantly be questioning things in life.

During my drive home, I was thinking about Kenz and the conversations that we had. Something she just couldn’t seem to wrap her head around was my foot being broken. She kept asking, “But why you break you foot, Annie?” The difference between the questioning minds of a two year old and a twenty one year old is that I can just accept some things as ‘just the way they are.’ Kenz does not accept that answer for anything. It got me thinking, though. Why can’t I accept the things in my life that I cannot change anymore? My applications are in. I’ve done everything that I possibly could (and then some) to get myself ready for this point in my life. Why can’t I just accept that some things are out of my hands? And why can’t I see myself the way that she sees me? She isn’t going to think less of me if I don’t go to graduate school right away. She only gets upset with me if she’s in trouble, but even then I know that she still loves me. Why can’t I be that way about myself? Life would be so much simpler and less stressful.

I can hear her say, “Why, Annie? Why?”

Simply put, I’m a part of the human being club. I make mistakes, lots of them, and I have flaws. But if I can recognize these things about myself, it is the first step in making myself the best me I can be.

Possibilities, Part 2

If you haven’t read Possibilites, Part 1 yet, please do that now.

I’m no stress superhero. I certainly carry my share of stress, and some days I really question why I was even asked to start this blog. I have spent the past three years exploring myself and my stress and I have gathered a pretty large “toolbox” filled with tools that help to relieve my stress. The one thing I do have in common with a superhero is that I have a major weakness; my kryptonite is a fear of the unknown.

One of the tools in my toolbox, my hammer so to speak, is planning. I love to sit down and hammer things out in to a plan whether it’s a to do list or a study schedule, and I always write in ink. It’s something that I’m really great at. Not being able to plan something out and having to just “wing it” is one of the hardest things for me to do.

Coming in to college, I had a plan. Throughout my three years here at MU, my plan has wavered, much to my dismay, but for the most part has stayed completely on track. I set two goals for myself when I started back in August of 2010.

1. Finish my undergraduate work in three years.

I can almost check this goal off. Officially, I’ll be able to on May 17th. On May 18th, I’ll be able to put the icing on the cake. I will be graduating with cum lade honors, as well as an honors certificate for completing twenty hours of course work through the honors college. I have worked tirelessly through the past semesters to make this goal come true. I don’t usually say this, but I’m incredibly proud of myself for (almost) achieving this.

2. Begin graduate school immediately after graduation and become a Physical Therapist.

The plan with this goal has always been to stay at Mizzou and complete their program. Unfortunately, that’s what the universe has in store for me, and I’m completely crushed.

I didn’t place all of my eggs in one basket, of course, and I applied to a few other schools. But those schools were a backup plan, or a safety net, that I never dreamed that I would have to actually put in to place. Even though I do have safety nets that will hopefully catch me if I fall (I’m still waiting to hear on some), I’m completely scared out of my mind. I got a letter from my landlord the other day about renewing my lease and I had a complete meltdown because I truly realized that I have no idea where I will be living next year. After I spent some time crying my eyes out, I curled up on my bed and was watching television, I Love Lucy on TV Land, to be more specific. That’s why this particular commercial was on and sparked this inspiration.

[NOTE: I have no affiliation with this company whatsoever. I was simply inspired by the message in their commercial]

This commercial talks about the size of the windshield vs. the size of the rearview mirror in a car. My “car” right now is my life, and every day (multiple times per day, actually) I catch myself looking in the rearview mirror. My mind starts to fill with “What if’s?” and “What else could I have done?”, along with a barrage of negativity that I bring down on myself. Soon, I’m spiraling downward, and sometimes I feel like it’s completely out of control; as if there is nothing else that I can do to try to bring myself back to the present and focus on what’s happening now. Every time I look in the rearview, it’s as if there’s a storm waiting to bring me down.

Something that I’ve started working on since I’ve seen this commercial is to keep looking forward. I know that I’ve worked incredibly hard to get myself where I’m at currently, and that there’s no use in looking backward. I can’t change what’s already behind me, no matter how hard that I try. I also can’t control what’s in front of me. Even the safest drivers occasionally get in accidents. Life has a plan for me, and I just have to enjoy the ride, even though that’s easier said than done.windshield

the things we can control

Everyone all week has been terribly stressed out about the winter storm, myself included. I just couldn’t fathom how I was going to be able to navigate crutches in the snow and ice!

Now I understand that some people (MODOT workers especially) have very good reason to be stressed. Lets help them out by removing some of the source of their stress. STAY HOME. Unless you absolutely, without a doubt have to be on the road, DONT BE. (I’m thinking doctors, nurses, emergency personnel.) Take the time that Mother Nature has given you and relax. There is no reason to be at home stressing out thinking about all the things that you could be doing at work. You cannot do them right now. Instead, take some time for yourself. Catch up on something that you want to be doing instead of something you have to be doing. If you need me, I’ll be reading a book that I want to read and laying in bed with my foot up. Enjoy!

P.S. I haven’t forgotten about Possibilities, Part 2. Its coming soon, I PROMISE!