? Wellness: Who Inspires You? Who Influences You?

I don’t really know what category of wellness this goes in to…but I wanted to bring up this topic of who inspires/influences you. Mainly because yesterday when I was scrolling through the DailyMail, there was an article in the sidebar about how Kayne thinks Kim K. is more influential to our society than Michelle Obama. And then I told das boy about it and he said that as much as he hates it, he could see that actually being true. And it just sat with me wrong. Look at all that Michelle Obama has done…look how empowered she is and what an amazing example of a strong woman she is setting. I’ve seen this gif set all over tumblr about her asking had she not married Barack what does she think her husband would be doing. And she responded that he would be President of the US. She is just SUCH an empowered woman. And then you have Kim K who does reality TV and in the only episode I have ever seen of that show she got an x-ray of her butt to prove she didn’t have butt implants. 


Please someone tell me that they have someone that influences/inspires them that doesn’t take x-rays of their butt (for non medical reasons-I mean if you have a broken tail bone, go get that x-ray of your bootay!) 

Also, Happy Halloween! What are you dressed as? I’m Super Health Educator! Our office is doing a Super Hero theme this year! 


Intellectual Wellness: Vanessa Gets Nerdy.

Last night when I was talking to das boy about my crappy day that I had, I had a bit of an inspirational thought. I have decided to do a bit of research. On myself. Say whaaaaat? Yeah, I’m going to track my mood. And days that I walk into work. My hypothesis is that overall I will have a better day on days that I walk into work. Other variables that I am considering tracking are hours of daylight, doing different exercises in the morning (because on days that I swim, I won’t walk into work during the winter-so can I substitute in doing yoga or pilates in the morning and get the same result?). Right now I don’t have my measures of definitions operationalized…and there are some confounds with this experiment (specifically because it isn’t a blind experiment at all…le sigh). I also need to determine when I am going to measure/evaluate my mood to make sure that I consistently evaluate mood at the same time everyday. I really want to run this experiment for a year and see what I find. 

This is where I get nerdy. Because I’m sure I could look up research on exactly what I am proposing and find the data, but I want to know specifically for me-not for the purpose or sake of research. This isn’t for that. This is for me gaining a better understanding of me. And this is my favorite way-by doing research. I’m a research person. I like the data. Obviously the results won’t hold true for every situation, that’s the human factor in there. But in general, this will give me an insight to me. 

If you are interested in my progress with this research, I can do posts every couple of months and update you on what I have found thus far. 

Do you ever have the urge to run data on yourself? Not for publication purposes but just for better understanding of yourself? Or is that just me…

Occupational Wellness: The Job Hunt.

When I was in Kentucky about a month ago, I met with my old adviser and agreed to do a presentation to the grad students about how to find a job. I went through the job search process and basically did all the wrong things and didn’t really know how to find a job until I finally found a job and then started figuring it out. So I thought I might pass along some of the tips that I’m working into this presentation.

  • Number one, network. Seriously. I’m one of the few that landed a job without knowing someone who knew someone or having an “in” somewhere. Just get out there and start networking. Which is also terrifying for an introvert like me, but it’s worth it and it is a skill that you constantly need to be working on. Side note:  even after you have a job continuing networking and remember to give it back.
  • Make a master resume. Of everything you have ever done. And then when you are applying start off with a blank document and add sections from your master resume that match the qualifications. While we are talking about resumes, send everything as a PDF so changes aren’t accidentally or “accidentally” made to your resume. Also, be really cautious when just throwing your resume up online, especially with information like your address, email, and phone number.
  • Hand written thank you notes. Send out a little old fashioned thanks after you interview.
  • Don’t lose the interview in the lunch/dinner. Remember that you are being evaluated at every step of the process. Don’t let your guard down during the lunch/dinner portion regardless of who you are meeting with. Every person that you meet is evaluating you.
  • Save. Money. Especially if you plan on applying for jobs that are out of state/country. Not all companies will pay for your travel expenses. Plus start saving and having what I like to call an “oh shit” fund just in case something comes up or your job search takes longer than expected.
  • Always bring copies of your resume and other necessary work. Honestly, bring more than you expect you might need. If you are doing a presentation, bring some sort of a back-up just in case technology fails you or something. Be over prepared.
  • Research. Always, always, ALWAYS research the company and the people that are going to interviewing you.

If you are interested in more of these types of posts, let me know. I have some fairly humorous stories about my job search process right after grad school.

Feel free to leave your tips in the comments below!

Physical Wellness: To Music or Not to Music?

Last week, I wrote up my personal running tips but I wanted to expand on one of those, music. When I started running, I had to run with music because I hated the sound of me “clomping” and hearing my breathing. I know, I know. sighs… And actually, up until about 4 months ago, I would always run with music. If I did have music, no run. But a series of what turned out to be very fortunate events happened and I started not just running sans music but working out sans music. I cancelled my Zune pass (yes, I am one of those people that have a Zune), so I lost a ton of music and then my phone broke so I lost having Pandora and I finally was just like, “meh, screw it. Let’s see what not working out with music does.

It was hard. At first. I was so used to having music pump me up and keep me motivated during workouts that the first couple of weeks were just painful. I remember running my half marathon in Kentucky and when I hit this point were I was just beat up and exhausted all of a sudden some Eminem song came up on my playlist that was something about taking on the hills or something (I don’t really know…when I listen to rap it’s for the beat I have no idea what the lyrics are) and it just boom, motivated me. But now, now working out sans music, I needed to motivate myself and pump myself up for my workout. But once I finally found the groove of being able to push myself plus value hearing my breathing and my “clomping”, then I saw the perks of working out sans music. I was able to evaluate myself better and make changes more quickly. I was also able to see that I can motivate myself. I don’t need something else to get me motivated to work hard.

It’s also a hell of a lot safer. I also walk to work 3-4 days a week and I walk to work sans music as well. When you are outside, it is so important to be aware of your surroundings and being outside without music distracting me from those distractions is awesome. I also got to do this little thing called “enjoying nature” … if you haven’t done it, I highly, HIGHLY recommend it.

Do you workout with or without music? What are your thoughts on it?

Social Wellness: My Sister.

Today is my sister’s birthday! She sometimes reads this blog, so feel free to leave her some loving in the comments 🙂

My sister and I are 28 months apart, her being older and wiser than I. Since I was a little kid, my sister has always been a role model and a source of inspiration for me. She has always been someone that holds herself very well and is highly determined and motivated. It was my sister that first suggested we run a half-marathon together and it was my sister who gave me the push to start running. My sister always set the bar high for success. She is truly one of the most gorgeous human beings, inside and out, that I know. Through everything in her life, she has always been so poised and just elegant. She’s a gracious and humble woman. Her laugh is infectious and she has a smile and presence that always lights up any room. She’s more than just her looks, she is extremely intelligent as well and has a work ethic that is unmatched by most people I know. She is truly one of the strongest people I have ever met in my life.

Happy Birthday Victoria!


Intellectual Wellness: Arnold Said What?

Last week das boy sent me a link to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Instagram, specifically to this post. While Arnold posted this in regards to how do you workout in unfamiliar gyms, it resonated with me in more ways than just working out. He mentioned that your workouts aren’t always going to be under perfect circumstances and you have to make due with what you have. Get a solid hour of lifting and cardio in and you won’t regret your workout.

But think about it beyond working out.

Ok. Now you aren’t always going to have perfect circumstances in life are you? You won’t always live in the perfect city and have the perfect job with the perfect apartment and have this perfect life, right? Right. But you go to work and bust out a good day of work and you go home and make your apartment/home something that you love and you spend your time doing things that make you happy and that you love.

Now you may be asking yourself, “Now Vanessa, I thought this week was a week of personal posts?” It is indeed! Because everything that I just said above, is what I do everyday. I am not at the point in my career where I have a dream job but I make sure I do things in my job that I love and that make me happy (running data/statistical analysis), I make my apartment a place that I love to be (very slowly, but I do make it a tranquil place), I make sure I do things that make me happy (running, swimming, playing in the park), and I spend time with people I care about. Because guess what, if I keep waiting for the perfect train to come and take me to the land of perfect, I’m going to wait my entire life and die disappointed. But if I take imperfect situations and make them work for me, I get to experience happiness and joy. When you let go of “well, when x happens then I will be happy” or “if y then yes” then you can get to enjoy the imperfections that are in your life and love them for being imperfect.

Emotional Wellness: Advice from Adult Me to Teenage Me.

I have seen a few of these posts or videos about giving yourself advice and what you wished the teenage version of yourself had known. I was thinking and pondering this post last night when I was walking home and trying to think what would be the most beneficial advice for me to give my teenage self and I have a few words of wisdom…that probably still apply to me presently.

  • Just concentrate on doing your work-all that drama is just secondary.
  • Quit trying to be someone you are not. Just embrace the fact that you are one heck of an awkward person.
  • If you don’t like someone, don’t waste your time on them. That doesn’t mean be rude or mean to them, just don’t waste your time and energy on them.
  • Just accept the fact that people are going to change and grow and if you grow apart from someone…it’s ok. Don’t be bitter about it.
  • Talking behind people’s backs will get you no where fast. Drama might be fun to watch, but there is no need to get involved with it.
  • Concentrate on things that you are in control of and not things that are out of your realms of control.
  • Quit comparing yourself to everyone else and making everything a competition.

I really don’t have too much advice for my teen self. And honestly these bits of advice are really general and generic. But that is mainly because the “bad” times during my teenage years were mostly self-inflicted and could have been remedied by just not getting involved with drama.

What would you tell your teen self? What is some advice that you would like to give?

PS:  this post is purposely a little bit more “light-hearted”.


Mental Wellness: My Struggle.

As I said in yesterday’s post, this week is going to be a theme of personal posts. Some will be light-hearted while others will not be. As I sit here preparing myself to type of this post, I am ready to admit my struggles but it still is not an easy task. I often spend a lot of my time worrying that I am going to let someone down and disappoint others. And this post should (you know how I feel about that word) be read knowing that this is my personal point of view. I cannot speak of how others feel or what they thought. This will also be a bit of a lengthy post, so if I were you, I would grab your coffee and settle in.

This is a post about my struggles with eating disorders. While I have never been diagnosed or gone to treatment for eating disorders, I did seek help in the form of counseling my junior year of undergrad. I also come from a psych background so I have some elementary knowledge of the diagnosis. I will not go into detail about my weight and habits I had, because honestly that’s one of the ways I “learned” how to fuel my eating disorder. I will not go into detail at all.

I don’t ever recall a time in my life that I wasn’t worried about my weight. I grew up with a scale in the bathroom and being conscious of gaining weight. I was often the smallest one around partly just because of my genetics and partly because as a kid I was so active. I don’t remember the day of the time that I looked in the mirror and decided that I was fat, but because I journaled throughout high school, I can admit that the first time I documented my desire to lose weight in an unhealthy way was the summer before my freshman year. And while those first few years were simply just a “diet”, I was laying the ground work for a hell I could never have imagined.

My senior year of high school, I decided to do a paper on body image for my college writing class. Through “research” for this paper, I found myself on these pro-ED sites that would disgustingly give tips. I remembered these types of websites from an Ellen or View or some daytime talk show I had watched one summer that featured two girls also battling eating disorders. So I got on them and created an account and started diving into my Hell version 1. During this time, I restricted my calories to a ridiculously low amount while spending hours in the gym just walking. And with every step I just kept thinking, “walk off all the calories, get rid of them” among other destructive thoughts. I started dropping weight and started restricting more and more and more. I was aware of what I was doing and recognized how weak I was. I was coming up on my senior season of tennis and wanted to have a good season. So I pulled myself out of the hole I was in and got myself out of the physical aspect of restricting. Years later, I would tell my counselor this information and watch her jaw drop. I was able to pull myself out of the physical danger I was putting myself in, but struggled much more with getting myself out of the mental mess I had made.

One of the most misconstrued attributes of eating disorders is that it is a mental disease just as much as it can be a physical disease.

When I entered college, I entered at a healthy weight. By Thanksgiving I had put on the typical Freshman 15. It was the first and only time in my life I have ever lived without a scale. I asked my mom if I could bring one of our scales from home that was broken back to my dorm with me and she said that was fine. This is the same scale that I would weigh myself around 20 times a day on the year before. My roommates and friends after Christmas break were also wanting to hit the gym more and lose some weight, so I joined. When my boyfriend at the time finally  got worried enough about me after seeing me break down multiple times about my body and my hatred for what I saw in the mirror, he suggested I start going to counseling (seeing as it was free for students on my campus). I made one of the toughest calls I have made (which is strange seeing as I have a background in psychology but I still conform to norms that crazy people go to counseling) and set up and intake appointment. After that, I received my counselor assignment and was placed with a wonderful counselor who I saw weekly for a semester and then monthly for another semester. I got to the point where my counselor felt that I was ready to stop session and that I was “recovered”. I did a number of exercises to combat negative thinking and made solid strides in being proud and thankful for having a body that helped me do so many things I loved (at the time dancing and climbing).

But I being a manipulator, had manipulated my counselor, and if I am being honest myself. Within a year of leaving my counselor, I started down the path I call “The Worst Hell of My Life.” I started binging and purging. From the first time I successfully tried it and I flushed the toilet and got up to wash my hands and face and I saw this look in my eyes that scared me…I knew…I knew I was in major trouble. But I had no idea how bad it would get.

I moved to Kentucky for grad school, to a place where no one knew me. I was hoping to have a fresh, clean start. But I battled so much with being alone all the time, that I turned to my comfort-food. I would binge and binge and binge. Eating enough food to easily feed a family of 4 and then purge it up. I got the point where I could hardly keep food down that I was actually trying to eat and keep down. My knuckles were scraped up. My eyes were bloodshot. My face was swollen. My teeth were getting more and more sensitive. I went from hating the reflection I saw in the mirror to hating the girl I saw in the mirror. But nothing stopped me. Until I got more and more involved in my Graduate Assistant position in Wellness. Again, I pulled myself out of the danger I was in and started getting my act together. I started running more and being more conscious of my decisions. But it didn’t stop me from being triggered and falling right back into either restricting or binging and purging. I moved in with a few girls my second year of grad school and was able to see what being healthy is really like.

I’m not “recovered” and I realistically don’t think I ever will be. There are triggers all over waiting to happen. But I can handle and deal with my triggers much better now. That year that I lived with my roommates in Kentucky did more than help me keep my sanity, they saved me from my own personal hell, and I will never be able to thank them enough. Those days, weeks, months, and years that I spent suffering were some of the hardest in my life. And learning how to deal with my problems head on rather than comfort them with my ED tendencies is an on going process. From the age of 14 I have been conscious and aware of the fact that yes I do struggle but that doesn’t mean I cannot prevail.