If there is one thing I have really come to realize lately it is how important it is to take care of yourself. I’ve also realized that it can be a lot harder than it sounds. I made a commitment to myself to do whatever it is I need to be happy, so taking care of my self is part of that. Sometimes I’m not sure happiness is something that comes naturally to me. Apparently taking care of myself isn’t either.

Physically taking care of myself has been hard at times, I think partly because I don’t always feel attached or connected to my body. The way I look in my head is not the way I look in the mirror. I think there are also cultural things that make taking care of your body hard from a mental stand point- when we talk about exercising or eating healthy more often than not its to lose weight or “look sexy” or fit into those jeans we bought two years ago. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with those things, but they don’t really give you a good frame of mind to work from. By exercising we keep our body strong so that it can continue to support us and do all the things we want; food gives us energy and support growth. And what’s sexier than a healthy body? I try to stay in that mindset, but sometimes it can be hard.
For the last month or so I’ve been working out 4 or 5 days a week- 2 days in my beginning Jazz  and 2 or 3 in the gym. I try to do 45 minutes a work out, but it varies between a 30-90 minutes. Honestly, the long workout are usually a product of me finding something I want to watch on TV while I’m on the elliptical or treadmill. But TV is as good a reason as any to stay at the gym, right?
My diet is still something I am working on, but I am definitely more conscious of what I’m eating. I usually end up eating more for breakfast than I need to, but I will note that I have some damn well balanced breakfasts. I wasn’t eating enough fruits and vegetables, so I’ve also been working on that (track how many servings I was getting was eye opening). I eat half a grapefruit almost every day, and I try and eat a veggie soup or salad at lunch. I also use the smaller plates in the cafeteria instead of the large ones that I was using before because it’s much easier to control my portions that way.
I’m experimenting with different hair-washing routines because I realized how terrible all the chemicals in normal shampoo and conditioner are (even if they leave you hair feeling soft). Shampoo strips the natural oils from your hair to get rid of dirt and build up, and you need the conditioner to put the oils back in. Ultimately it really does a number on your hair and kind of makes you dependent on shampoo and conditioner to clean your hair. I need to get some vinegar and baking soda and see how those work on my hair on a regular basis (I’ve used them a few times as an occasional cleanser). For right now I’ve been variating between plane old vigorous scrubbing with hot water and using a little shampoo on the top of my scalp/along my part because that’s where my hair gets oily. I’ve been making a point of putting lotion on my skin more since it dries out a lot during the winter.

Taking care of yourself mentally is equally important and especially hard for me. Generally I am a pretty high stress person, which begets a lot of anxiety, which just makes it kind of hard to function (which leads to more stress and so on). Being at UNR has definitely lowered my stress level academically, but I still find plenty to worry about. I have really high expectations of myself (I’m not sure if that is a cause or a product of my stress level), and can be pretty hard on myself when I don’t meet those expectations. I have a different set of standards for myself than for other people- things that are fine for other people aren’t fine for me. There’s a quote from the Buffy episode “Conversations with Dead People” that I relate to quite a bit.

You have a superiority complex, and an inferiority complex about it!

None of those things really add up to a great mental state, so I am working on being more compassionate with myself. I am also trying this new things where I prioritize and do what is most important to me and for me first- amazing how revolutionary that can be. The other day I gave myself permission not to finish an assignment and to take a late turn in rather than killing myself over the 25 points it was worth. Getting a B won’t kill me, and if I do an extra credit assignment it will more than make up for the 10% I lose on the assignment for turning it in late.
I’m also applying for a single or a different living situation for the Spring, because where I am at right now has not really been good for me so far. I’ll talk about that more some other time though.
Doing things that are fun and spending time with people who make me happy is also another new priority. I’m getting involved with things on campus so that I have other outlets and things to think about other than school work.

Getting enough sleep is still something I have a hard time with- which affects both my mental and physical healthy. I have definitely had some cranky days in the last few weeks which were in direct relation to how I slept.
I usually don’t go to bed right when I feel tired because I want to finish what ever I am working on/watching, and by the time I finally get into bed I’ve hit my second wind. So changing my sleeping habits is on the list of improvements to make.

That being said, I’m starting to feel tired, so I am going to finish up this now very long blog and call it a night.

Take care of yourself.