Thursday, July 31, 2014

During Low Times, Find One Positive

This post originally appeared on Have Your Health, a past blog of mine active from 2013-14.

It's been nearly two months since my last health check-in here on the blog. While this won't be a complete check up like the last one, I do want to comment on some recent personal events, how my health has taken a toll as a result, and the one thing I'm still doing right despite everything.

A completely unexpected breakup last week - when I have just one month left here in Korea - led me to do some emotional eating. There's been lots of chocolate making its way into my apartment, after I had gone over two weeks without a single drop! I had been so proud of my no-chocolate record. So I've definitely done some back pedaling, but I'll soon be able to take some steps forward again. The chocolate's not here to stay, just here to comfort.

I've also been frequenting the "bakery" in town every day this week, eating things like donuts and sandwiches (things that I hadn't touched for several months). This is partly due to the fact that I'm teaching summer camp right now during my school's summer vacation period. Our cafeteria is closed during vacation, so I have to bring something to eat every day (since I can't call to order delivery and can't drive to a restaurant, as Korean teachers do). Recent events had me completely unmotivated to do any cooking (plus it's super hot and my refrigerator doesn't really keep things cold... not the greatest combination), so I've been stopping by this bakery every morning to pick up a breakfast item and lunch item for the day - and sometimes a treat too (aka a donut).

This will not become a habit, as my surroundings will change by the end of next week when camp finishes and I have a week and a half of vacation with my sister and Grandma. And I'm starting to kick back into gear, regaining some of the motivation that had been completely drained out of me last week. After all, I'm writing a post!

One last let down is the fact that I haven't been exercising or stretching. Any chance of running stopped back in June when the humidity and heat became so gross and high here. It's stayed all July, and I just can't go out and run in that, though I'm sure some sort of exercise would have been really good for me this past week. But I also haven't been doing any Give it 100 videos or my regular stretching at home in my AC (I think my last video was Day 77). That took a hit when I started a second job - an online editing gig - just over a month ago. My daily routine changed as a result.

Now instead of stretching and making a video right when I get home from work, I log two hours of editing work and then feel so very drained and only want to shut off my mind with a TV show before bed. Recently I'm making pitiful efforts to stretch to some extent, even if it's just a few toe reaches during passing time at school. Again, I'm not worried because my daily routine will completely be redesigned when I leave Korea at the end of the month, and my legs will get a fabulous workout every day when I walk the Camino de Santiago in September/October.

I did mention there was one thing I'm doing right. I must not beat myself up about all of my latest health "fails," so I'm making sure to highlight my single success: I'm drinking plenty of water! The summer heat definitely is to thank for this one, though being reminded to drink water in two recent readings have reaffirmed the habit.

The first was in James Clear's article on sleep. He wrote that he usually drinks an entire glass of water right when he wakes up, because his body has just gone 6-8 hours without any fluids. I'd never thought about that before, so even though it was just a brief sentence, the image really stuck with me. It's caused me to grab for a water bottle first thing in the morning a few times already. The second was seeing the base of the Wellness Center's food pyramid as I read Food Over Medicine: 64 ounces of filtered water. Again, it was a new image in my mind - to see water as the base of a food pyramid - and it brought water closer to the front of my attention. I'm taking great advantage of the drinking fountains at school, refilling my water bottle several times each day, and then drinking more once I'm home for the evening.

We all go through times of turmoil, so I wanted to honestly share how such a time has recently affected my health journey. Even in just writing this post, by identifying my unhealthy behaviors and the causes, I feel as though I've taken a step towards the right path again.
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