Archives for the month of: November, 2015

Hello everyone! Happy, happy Thanksgiving week! I hope you are spending it with friends and family wherever you are reading this.

I absolutely love this week–I love that my office is sort of empty because lots of people have gone home already; I love that my train ride is that much more relaxing because so few people are on it; I love waking up Thanksgiving morning whenever I want and slowly making my way up to my parents’ house. My mom and I putter around the kitchen all day and this is how we catch up–I tell her about my week at work and she tells me about hers, we laugh, we talk about books or TV shows; it’s perfect. I’m so looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to seeing my two favorite dogs: my Boston Terriers Isabelle (right) and Elizabeth (left). Obviously, as you can see from this picture, they’re very regal:

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Elizabeth wanted to kiss Isabelle, but Isabelle wasn’t having it.

 

I also love sitting down to dinner and talking to my family. I live close to them and talk to them often, but not living at home really makes a difference. Everyone is busy and works full-time so we take what we can get to spend time with each other.

I’ve been so blessed this year: I’ve started a new job, gotten a new apartment, and have learned things about myself that I never knew before. I’ve been able to spend time with my family and friends and learned that I could count on them during the worst times. What else could I possibly ask for?

Happy Thanksgiving, readers! Think about all the good in your life this week and be grateful for what you have–I’m telling you, it really makes a difference :).

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Last week Star, my very special living companion arrived at my house. Star is a medium-sized poodle mix. I’ve had her for a little over four years. She is an odd dog who has way too much energy and a strange love for dragging her body against couches and floors. I was unable to bring her with me when I moved in September because I hadn’t finished unpacking. I also didn’t have a doggy crate for her. Once the crate problem was solved, I was able to fetch my dog. For nearly two months, I was concerned with how she would behave in the house, and how much my daily schedule would change. As usual, my fears were overblown. It has been just over a week and Star has been awesome.

As long as I walk her three times a day, she is very good around the house. Walking her has also been great for me. In the week since her arrival I’ve explored more of the neighborhood. This is more than I’ve done in the two months since my move. During our walks, I’ve noticed lots of small businesses and have even had the pleasure of talking to my neighbors, including the block captain. Walking a dog makes for a fantastic conversation starter. The walks have also been good for clearing my mind, observing others, and allowing me to reflect (when I’m not busy trying to keep Star from eating trash). The walks have been so enjoyable that I almost regret waiting on the dog to leave my house on foot. Now I understand why people go for walks, or for a run around the neighborhood. These activities work both the mind and the body. In addition to going outside more often, I have someone here to keep me company. Her presence is a great relief for those moments when I’m feeling extremely lonely or stressed.

If you live alone, do you keep a pet as a companion?

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I couldn’t end this post without a picture of Star.

Last week I was so sick, starting Monday night. I came home, ate dinner, and then while I was relaxing afterward I felt a little twinge in my throat. I thought it was strange, but I didn’t really think anything else of it until I was getting ready for bed. Wow, I thought. I do not feel well at all. I decided that I must be exhausted (as is usually the case on Monday nights!), so I promptly went to sleep. I woke up Tuesday morning and I felt like I had been hit by a truck–I was hot and cold, my throat was killing me, my head hurt. I took my temperature and it was 101 degrees–blah. I called in sick to work and spent the rest of the day sleeping, reading, and drinking tea.

Now, a week later, I’m just starting to get over my sickness (which turned into a sinus infection) and I am so thankful for my returning health! I was thinking this past week about how I was able to remain stress-free throughout the day last Tuesday (the only day I took off from work), which is a complete difference from how I usually am when I take a sick day. I’m a worrier–I think about emails I’m missing, questions I should be answering, and work I should be doing rather than concentrating on getting better. I thought about why I feel so differently now than I used to and I think it’s because this new job is right for me. I don’t feel overly stressed because I don’t feel that I need to be; I feel confident in my abilities and I feel supported by my department.

I think it’s so important that people search and ultimately accept a job in a company where they feel comfortable, confident, and appreciated. I know that not everyone can be so choosy (I know I couldn’t be when I accepted my last position–I was just so grateful that I finally had a job!), but I think eventually you can be; you can build up your skills and experience and eventually get to choose where you want to work. It’s important for your health and well-being to think about where you are in your career right now: are you happy? Healthy? Do you feel like you accomplish something everyday? Are you in the right field? These questions are worth asking every so often, as a way to “check in” with yourself.

I think my thoughts wandered a bit during my sick day (and in the week since), but I believe that taking inventory of your emotions and physical health is important, especially as it relates to your job or career. Listen to yourself and follow your instincts–you may not realize you’re trying to tell yourself something until you pay attention!

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Source.

I’m always amazed at how the mind and body can understand a situation long before you can comprehend it. For example, if you’re running yourself ragged you may fall ill, or become physically tired. The body knows you need rest and will do everything in its power to ensure you receive that rest. When it comes to the mind, you may plague yourself with worry and doubt to the point where your brain refuses to process more information. Try as you might, your mental productivity plummets. In my case, I was in the latter camp earlier this week. I tried to write, but I experienced something close to writer’s block.

I stared at my computer screen, but the words and will to write refused to come. It wasn’t until I stepped away from my computer for a while did I feel some of my mental energy returning. Even then, I wasn’t running at full capacity. I finished my writing assignment, but I wasn’t pleased with the results. My mother happened to visit me in the midst of my ordeal and commented that I looked terrible. She went as far as to insist I take a day off from my night job. After a moment of pacing back and forth in my living room, I complied with her advice. She lingered around to make sure I was okay before leaving for the night. I then sat down on the couch, ate dinner, and watched a few dark comedies. (I don’t why, but a dark show like BoJack Horseman really helped me to feel better. Perhaps it is that feeling I’m stressed, but I’m not trapped in a quagmire of full-blown despair.) I returned to my computer to edit my writing assignment and found the flow of words to be better.

Ironically, I recently wrote about stress on the job and the dangers it can present. When you ignore your own need to rest or mentally unwind, you can find yourself a situation similar to what you want to warn others about. Sometimes the best course of action is to walk away from a particularly stressful situation, and to rest your mind. Other times, mindfulness or focusing on your present (instead of being anxious about the future) is a better solution.

Have you ever been mentally overwhelmed and forced to take a break from a stressful situation?

A quick update on my challenge: Writing down my tasks is a big help, but I realized I also need to create a plan to decide how long each task should take.

BoJack Horseman. As long as my weekends aren't this bad, I'm okay.

BoJack Horseman. As long as my weekends aren’t this bad, I’m okay.

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