Tag Archives: stress

Face Update: Stress-Related Acne

Last month my dermatologist wanted to schedule a follow-up appointment so that she could see if my new medicine(s) were doing what they should.

July vs. August

She didn’t expect it all to be gone in just a month, but she thinks that it’s halfway there!

And I definitely agree that it is getting better.

Other than the new prescriptions, there has been a major change in the past month: way less stress!  In the past, I have been able to handle stress well, but I guess all the changes in my life gave me a run for my money!  I wasn’t used to that type of stress, and I think it may have contributed to my acne.  Just being back in my stomping grounds and seeing my good old family and friends has reduced my stress level significantly (and helped to clear my skin!) Plus, ever since I have gotten my life organized again, I feel confident to take on anything!  I had a question about how exactly I stay organized, so I though I would explain it for anyone who is curious!

Set Goals

So first, like I said before, I broke up my life into different categories (FeelGood, work, school, apartment, health, finances, and personal life) and set goals for each one.  Since I am just trying to get back on track, I only made goals for the rest of the summer/next semester.  Not very many goals for each area, just one or two. Then, I made a brief “how to” for each goal.  This helps me to get focused and figure out where I need to start and get an idea of where I am going.  For example, here is my school goal/how-to:

  • By the end of the summer, I will be fully organized and prepared for my classes.
  • Buy cheapest textbooks.  Buy used. Compare amazon, bookstore, and kindle
  • Organize laptop document files.
  • Set schedule into Google Calendar.
  • Acquire notebooks, pens, and pencils.  External hard drive, too?

Then I went through and decided which things I should do first (urgent stuff, easy stuff, quick stuff) and planned when to do it (see below)!  I will do this regularly as I get stuff done, unsure of next steps, or if I feel stressed.  Fun fact: whenever I feel stressed out, the number-one thing that works for me is to get something done!  Works every time 🙂

Google Calendar

My next step was to set up my Google Calendar.  I use it for scheduling my days, which can be very busy during the school year!  I have color-coded sub-calendars for personal life, school, work, FeelGood, and fitness.  Right now I only have my class schedule, birthdays, school holidays, and a few FeelGood events in there, but before long I will rely on it to schedule my work hours and when I can squeeze in yoga!  It’s really easy to use, and is the best way to keep everything straight.


I could not live without my planner.  I do copy important bits of my schedule into my planner, but I mostly use it to plan what tasks need to get done during the week.  I write all my homework assignments in there, plus details like where/when I am subbing, or anything I need to get done for FeelGood.  I usually plan on a week-by-week basis by looking at my goals and deciding what can get done each week.  But I do add tasks way in advance if it’s something that needs to be done at a certain time, and I know will eventually slip my mind.*  For example, one of my apartment goals is to never be late on rent, so I have a reminder written on a certain day each month!

I currently use this Moleskin weekly planner because I can write tasks specific to each day on the left, but write a mass to-do list and notes on the right.


I also love it because its really nice but I also don’t like it because its really nice.  I use it pretty hard, but I’m afraid of ruining it!  I might go back to a simpler, spiral-bound weekly planner for 2012.

*I confess, I forget EVERYTHING unless it is written down!

Well, that’s essentially how I organize my life!  Yes, I am really anal, but it’s the only thing that works for me!

Today, I accompanied my brother on a trip to Ikea so that he could buy his new desk.  Any excuse to go to Ikea.  Our grandfather was Swedish, so our family is quite obsessed with anything Scandinavian.  My brother even took many classes in Scandinavian studies and Swedish language in college, as well as studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark.  So I guess he’s the most obsessed of us all!

And frankly, who isn’t a fan of Ikea?  Not only do they have cheap, sensible, and stylish furniture, but they have really cheap and tasty Swedish food, too!

The breakfast bun and coffee combo was only $0.69 each and the spinach and cheese crepes were $2.99!  Worth every penny 😉

We spent a whopping 3 hours oggling over all of Ikea’s items.  Such smart designs!  Such cute designs!  SUCH CHEAP PRICES!!!  The Swedes know how it’s done.  I adore all the little display apartments they have set up.  I am ready to move in.  (Anyone remember the Ikea scene from 500 Days of Summer???)  I kept saying to myself, “someday, everything in my place will not only be my style, but it will MATCH!”

How do you organize your life?



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Sciatic Nerve Pain: My Hips Don’t Lie

Last night when I got back from yoga, I was having some serious hip pain.  This morning when I woke up, I was still having some serious hip pain.  I was born with my hips dislocated (they eventually got lodged back into place), so I’ve always had hip problems.  Plus, out of all the many wonderful things I inherited from my mother, I also inherited her sciatica.  I have suffered from sciatic nerve pain since I was like 12! (Which is probably why I sometimes get knee pains from running.)  Last night, I’m pretty sure I stressed my left knee and/or hip, causing some irritation in my left sciatic nerve.  I can actually pinpoint the exact moment: during Ardha Baddha Padma Uttanasana, a.k.a. “half-bound standing forward stretch.”

You stand and bring right your foot into lotus position, grabbing your big toe with your right hand, then fold forward to touch the floor.  I have absolutely no problem doing it on the right side, and I got over-confident last night and strained my left side.  I remember thinking it hurt (not in a “yoga hurts so good” kind of way) and immediately coming out of the posture, saying a little prayer that it didn’t hurt in the morning. Well, crap.

So that ruined my plans to run today, seeing as I could barely walk without limping around like a pirate (at least that’s pretty B.A., right?)

Needless to say, I’ve been doing lots of hip stretching to try and ease the pain.

This is a very modified version of Yogimudrasana.  Sit cross-legged, but try and make your bottom leg come straight out from your hip, making a right angle at the knee.  Then, fold the other leg directly on top, with ankle past the bottom knee.  Some day, you lean forward and your legs are perfectly stacked on top of one another.  It’s not easy, but fabulous for both your hips and knees.

And, yes, I am wearing two different socks.  Even cooler, one has a hole in the heel!

Other stretches I’ve been doing are pigeon and a simple knee-to-chest.  It feels like a massage!  One yoga teacher I had once had said, “pull your knee to your chest as hard as you can and save yourself a hip replacement later in life!”  I should probably do this everyday, lol!

I would love to put it under a heating pad, but I am going to ice it late tonight for probably 20 minutes and see if that relieves any pain.  I can hear my mom saying, “take it easy” from here, so that’s what I’ll be doing until it feels better.  I DO NOT want to stress it even more.  That means walking, gentle yoga, and ab + arm strengthening for a couple of days.

I forgot to mention earlier that breakfast was extra special today.  Do you know why?…..

Nearly-empty jar of peanut butter means Oatmeal-in-a-Jar!  I just cooked my oatmeal the regular way and ate it out of the jar, getting a nice scoop of p’nut butt- with each bite!  DIVINE!

After class, I took inventory of what was in our kitchen…

  • Red Kidney Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Chard
  • Diced tomatoes in tomato juice
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • S&P
  • Cayenne Pepper (just a pinch)

Put it all together and what have you got?  A ridiculously cheap, easy, healthy, and delicious dinner!  I just sauteed the onions and garlic, then added everything else (but the quinoa) and let it simmer.  Serve atop cooked quinoa and PRESTO!  Did I mention it was filling?  I had just one sensibly sized bowl.  No over-eating tonight!

Any secret remedies for relieving sciatic nerve pain?



Filed under Fitness, Food, Life, New Zealand, Recipes, Running, Yoga

Homemade Hint-of-Lime Pita Chips

I am proud to say that I finished another paper today! This one is for my internship, to be sent to UVM. I interviewed a few of my students some math questions and how they solved them, then wrote an assessment about math strategies! Fun stuff!

For lunch, I had this wonderful beauty:

A HUGE salad. It started off with salad greens and chopped tomato. Then, I sauteed chopped zucchini and carrots, then threw in some cooked brown rice and an egg at the end. Oh yeah, and two big spoonfuls of hummus and salsa.

It was super filling and satisfying, but it left me wanting more hummus…with crackers. But we ain’t got no crackers! But we have pita bread…and an “oven”….so I decided to make some Pita Chips!

I ripped up bits of pita for nice bite-sized chips. I VERY LIGHTLY dipped them in olive oil, then gave them a dash of salt and, on a whim, a few squeezes of lime juice. I baked them at 230*C for ten minutes.

Uneven, just like the zucchini chips! I blame my microwave/oven…

Doesn’t it just look deceitful! Luckily, I like stuff a little burnt and a lot crunchy.

Homemade Hint-of-Lime Pita Chips! The lime definitely took it up a notch. Craving satisfied! YUM!

The rest of my day was spent in class. First in Maori Culture and Society, we learned about views of land and kinship ties. The Maori believe that they belong to the Earth, not that the Earth belongs to them, so they are huge conservationists and honor their landscape. We could learn a thing or two from these environmentalists. In Leadership, we talked about “doing first things first” and talking about our achievements. All very useful information, but it comes so naturally to me. It doesn’t excite me or anything. I need to write a little paper on that, now. Sigh and I don’t want to.

I’ve been struggling with some stress the past few days. Everything is seeming pretty overwhelming: my internship, homework, all the prep for my upcoming 2 weeks of travel. I am trying to remind myself my mantra (stolen from Life is Good) “do what you love, love what you do” but it’s especially hard being away from home! I’m homesick for my support system I’m surrounded by back in VT/PA. I am lucky to have a major component of that support system with me (Hannah <3) but unfortunately, right now, it's like the blind leading the blind!

We both agreed we needed some magic Harry Potter chocolate, so we went across the street for a bar of Cadbury.

It’s working 🙂

How do you deal with stress?



Filed under Food, Life, New Zealand, Recipes, School

Trapped at the Gym!

I have been doing my workouts in the evenings lately, due to the inclement weather and all the delays.  But I miss those early morning workouts!  So last night, I set my alarm extra early, hoping to get back on track.  When it jolted me awake at 6:15, I jumped out of bed, ready to face the day! As I was on my way out, my dad informed my that it was really cold outside.  My thought was well, duh, it’s 6:30am in the beginning of February.  Besides, I’m just going to be sweating in the gym or driving in my warm car. [foreshadowing!]  I got an excellent parking spot, greeted the early AM Y staff, and set up camp on a treadmill.

Before I run, I usually set a time goal, but this morning (since I had PLENTY of time before work) I decided to set a distance goal: 3 miles.  I took a walking/water break before each mile, and I finished in less than 35 minutes.   I was pleased because I finished (and you always come in first place when you run on your own, lol) but I am going to try and get speedier.  You know what that means? Sprints. (Gross.)

I headed to my car feeling tired and hungry, but super glad that it was only 7:15am and I’d already run 3 miles!  But then things got really exciting….my car wouldn’t start!  OH MY!  It’s a long story, but basically I had to wait in the (newly renovated!) lobby of the Y, then wait outside by my car as the guy tried to figure out why it wouldn’t start (the battery was fine!), and then wait for the tow truck to come bring my baby into the ER for Cars (thanks for coming my my rescue, Dad!).  Turns out the starter broke, and I was very late for work, but luckily Ingrid (that’s my car) was good as new by the end of the day.

We have the choice to address the unexpected as stressful or exciting.  This morning definitely tested me, but I chose exciting, simply because I knew that 1) no one was hurt, and 2) it was out of my control.  That’s just life! You never know what will happen during your day (even before 9am) and THAT is exciting. I’d like to share with you one of my favorite mantras, which definitely helped me remain calm through my exciting morning.

May I be filled with loving kindness. May I be well. May I be peaceful and at ease.  May I be happy.

May you be filled with loving kindness. May you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease.  May you be happy.

May we be filled with loving kindness. May we be well. May we be peaceful and at ease.  May we be happy.


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Filed under Fitness, Yoga