Monday, February 13, 2012

Making Taking Care of My Body a Priority in the Craziness that is Grad School

By Kelly Elmore

(Originally posted at Reepicheep's Coracle)

This semester has been SO crazy. I am loving it, doing all the things I love most (reading, writing, reading about writing, writing about reading, you know the super fun stuff), but I am busier than I have ever been with Livy and Aaron and ATLOS to think of on top of school and work.

Somehow in all the insanity, my healthy habits have gone away. I am never home during the week, so I don't cook. Instead, I've been eating fast food in the car and bar food at school WAY too often.

Instead of my long walks of last semester, I have been sitting on my behind, writing and writing and writing. When I have a break, instead of getting outside, I find myself frantically checking things off my to-do list. I'm getting about the same amount of sunlight as Aaron, for god's sake, and he's a computer programmer.

I've gained weight, and I feel yucky. I am pushing myself harder than ever before, and I am not fueling my body properly or exercising to relieve stress or sleeping enough.

So, I am making a change. I am unable to make a big change because I have way too much to do. But I am making small changes to get back on a healthier track.

I started a yoga class, which is active and also gives me some much needed stress relief (thanks, Tori!). I've been going one day a week for 3 weeks and like it so much that I am thinking of adding an extra day a week. As soon as Aaron sets up the DVD player in the new introvert-proof living room, I will add some weekend yoga with Livy.

I am going to start taking some shorter walks during my school breaks. Walks that I can do in 30 minutes. Walks that I can do in nice slacks or a dress. I do not have to walk for hours to make it worthwhile to do it. The perfect is the enemy of the good when it comes to walks (as in so much else).

I am going to start packing food for the day. Today I brought a cooler with lunch and dinner in it, simple stuff that doesn't require cooking. I may have to live with less variety if I am not willing to cook, but at least it will be healthy food that can fuel the pace of this semester. Today, I have ham, cheese, veggies and hummus, a frozen hamburger patty, and a salad. Not perfectly paleo, but a lot better than Taco Bell.

I am going to try to get more sleep by going to bed earlier on Mondays and Wednesdays (the days before my earliest days). It's hard to do that and still see Aaron much, but even an hour would help.

I'm trying not to focus on the weight I've gained or how I want to look or how I want my clothes to fit. Those things are fine, but not the most important. In a semester this busy, I only have time to think about the things that I value most and ruthlessly cut out the other. So body image issues have to go. Instead, my focus will be on giving my body the food, exercise, and sleep it needs to make me the brainiest, most energetic teacher and scholar that composition theory and writing center studies has ever seen.

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