Gratitude for Hours well Spent

I am exhausted. Not in the bad – I can’t get out of bed, hate life kind of exhausted. The – I have been so busy out living life that I am exhausted. It is a nice change from the first. I am faced with a lot of work to get done because I have put that work aside for more favorable experiences. Yes I have deadlines, everyone does in life, but sometimes it is better to not spend hours being a perfectionist trying to get the perfect grade. I rarely used to procrastinate. I don’t recommend it all the time, but having to stay up later a few nights over the past few weeks was well worth it. All the little experiences from a super bowl parade to hiking with my dogs have made me genuinely happy. It has been awhile since I have done a gratitude list, but I really think it is important when things are going well in life to write things down to return to on those not so great days.

  1. Football. I am sad that the season is over, but finishing with a super bowl win was worth every up and down during the season. Football is more than just a sport to me. It brings my friends and family together. It also brings the community together and I know everyone will continue to celebrate well into the summer.
  2. Fresh air. My boyfriend and I took our dogs on a hike out around a secluded lake for Valentine’s Day. There is no other feeling in the world like getting outside and being surrounded by nature. I tend to forget how soothing being outside is, even if it is only for a few moments in the backyard. I am hoping to go snow shoeing for the first time in the next couple weeks as well which will be an amazing experience. I am definitely yearning for warmer weather too for more hikes and camping.
  3. People.   Usually I am more of an introvert and a lot of people tend to get on my nerves, but lately that has been changing. I credit working with cancer survivors because I get to meet and interact with new clients on a weekly basis. It has really opened my eyes to how every one of us is truly an individual with unique talents and experiences. I have learned a lot through observation and really listening to people. When I stop to actually listen to someone and understand what they are saying I tend to have a more positive interaction. We all want to be heard, but it is rare to listen and remove your thoughts and judgements. I encourage everyone to practice empathy on a daily basis.
  4. Family. This really goes without saying, but I grateful every moment for the support and encouragement from those around me.
  5. My health. I am grateful that I can get out and be active and enjoy the things I love with the people I love. A lot of times we take for granted what our bodies actually do for us.       There were times in my life where I could barely get around my house, especially after the spinal fusion, and now I am physically in the best shape of my life because I am healthy. For one I am nourishing myself and two I know when to rest and take it easy.       Injury and sickness give me a very cut and dry perspective of how precious my health and physical body are to me. You only get one, take care of it.

What are one or two things you are grateful for today?

Energy

As an athlete I know all too well how my energy can impact my performance. Not only my physical energy, but the energy of my state of mind. Anxiety and excitement are two opposite forms of the same energy that lead to very different results. Anxiety is a negative form of energy that sucks the life out of me, leaving me hopeless and prone to depression. When I am anxious, I pick apart certain skills or movements and am never left satisfied. Excitement is the positive form of anxiety and instead gives me hope and confidence. I work hard on skills and sets with excitement trying to become my best self. In both energy states I work my ass off, but which one produces the results I want? Obvious to any athlete. But what about applying this principle to other aspects of my life? Getting back into a new semester I find myself a bit anxious and stressed concerning my master’s thesis. That energy didn’t do me any favors last semester. As I picked apart every little piece trying to make it perfect, I lost all mindfulness and serenity in life. That energy carried over through the break and it is exhausting. My brain is wired to default to the negative. I am working very hard to re-wire it and be very intentional about mindfulness and gratitude. At first thought it was very hard to think about my master’s thesis as exciting. Yet the more I separate the stress and anxiety, I actually find there is a lot to be excited about. I love the work I am doing with cancer rehabilitation and it is a privilege to get to work with these survivors every day. Each passing week I am closer to the career I want and the life I have envisioned. This is my passion and school is just a stepping stone to get there. Writing can definitely be compared to competing in athletics. You work hard, have many drafts and edits, and eventually end up with something you hope to be proud of. I compete to win and this makes me excited. I am writing in hopes that my thesis will become published and to have a successful defense in order to graduate. That will be a huge victory and this makes me excited. Regardless, I will finish my degree no matter the state of energy. I hope in the coming weeks to continue to be mindful about this topic and use my energy in a positive manner. Thinking this way does transform you. Think about what makes you anxious and then think about how that energy can be converted into excitement. For example, maybe recovery is wrought with anxiety and there is no way for it to be exciting. Really dig deep and come up with your own personal reasons of how it could be exciting. With no exaggeration, I have found recovery to be the most exciting thing in my life. It gave me a new life. I encourage you to take a step back and consider how you can be intentional with your own energy. It is a challenge and as I move forward I strive to stay excited and inspired about life.

Cancer Rehabilitation

When life gets busy, writing tends to fall by the wayside as I have mentioned before.  I wanted to pop in and give a little update on what has me so busy and assure you that I have been working on some posts for the future.  Next week I officially start grad school!  It has been a long time coming, but I have been truly blessed to be able to take time and really invest in what I want out of a career.  My degree will be in exercise physiology with a concentration in cancer rehabilitation.  I am beginning to train clients on a weekly basis and it has been extremely rewarding.  I want to continue to be involved in research and advance this field in order for clients to have insurance coverage.  The treatment from cancer leaves people with many different forms of toxicities which exercise can help alleviate.  For example, cardiotoxicity from chemotherapy weakens the heart muscle and pulmonary toxicity makes it difficult to transport oxygen from environment to cells.  Exercise on the other hand strengthens the heart and increases cardiac output as well as strengthens the intercostal muscles to increase lung capacity and improve ventilation.  These are just two examples of many in which exercise improves the awful side effects caused by the treatments from cancer.  Exercise improves cancer related fatigue and improves psychological function as well.  All of this comes from research at rehabilitation centers and I am excited to be involved!  Coming from a background of athletics I thought that I wanted to train athletes and help them get to a high level of competition.  After my spinal fusion surgery and seeing a family member go through treatment for cancer I realized that it is much more important to me to help people achieve a better quality of life.  I want all people to be able to do the simple things in life like carry their own groceries and tie their shoes.  I didn’t realize all of the things that I take for granted sometimes.  I like to train at a high level and some people just want to be able to walk down the street.  It is a very humbling environment to work in.  The progress that I have seen from various clients over the summer makes my heart full of joy and I know that this is the career I want to pursue.  I may not end up just in cancer rehabilitation, but anyone struggling with chronic conditions can benefit from exercise and I hope to be one to help them achieve their goals!