Occupational Wellness: The New Trend?

A couple weeks ago the world was stunned when a 24 year old copywriter passed away after working a 30 hour shift, a lot of us were introduced to a word to describe something that a lot of us are guilty of:  binge working. Before this, I had only thought of the word binge being tied to drinking or eating. Binge working seems to be a result of people being connected to their job 24/7 (hello work email on my phone), desire for money, and the oh so amazing invention of caffeine. Normal office hours seem to have been a thing of the past. But these binge working circumstances have negative consequences. Negative health consequences. Not just death. These long binge working hours can actually lead to a decrease in the quality of your work.

So, like most things in our life, why do we subject ourselves to unhealthy behavior?


Financial Wellness: Toxic Money and Positivity.

Who knew that toxic money and positivity would ever go together. Well, in this pretty amazing article by LearnVest, they pair the two together. And it’s 3 pages of pure amazing-ness that breaks down to this:  stop ignoring your money problems, write them down, get a plan of attack put together, and be positive. Whether your goals are to retire at a certain age, pay off your student loans, or just start putting away money to buy a house/car/a new wardrobe, you need to have a plan. And you need to have a positive outlook. Saying that it is impossible to pay off your credit debt isn’t helpful and doesn’t move you into the right direction. (Some may even say that it helps you justify getting more into debt). But setting out a plan and addressing what your debt is or what your financial goals are does help you move in the right direction.

Intellectual Wellness: Book Review #1

Part of my Goals for 2014 was to read a book a month. I’m going to incorporate this goal into my blog and provide some brief book reviews. Not in the 7th grade English class way. But in the this is my blog and I want to share some of the books I’m reading.

This month, I read Wasted:  A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher. I’ll admit that this isn’t my first time reading this book. But it was the first time reading it for the sole purpose of not trying to trigger myself into a darker place. I’ll also admit that this book did take me about a year to read. Not because it is long or difficult to read, but because it is difficult to read. My struggles were not near as bad as Marya, but like anyone that has struggled, you can relate. And sometimes it takes time to process.

While reading Wasted for what seems like the 20th time (and probably not that much of an exaggeration), I decided to highlight and take notes – just like a good grad student. And while I won’t share everything that I highlighted or all the little scrawls in the margins, there are a few things I want to share.

And so I went through the looking glass, stepped into the netherworld, where up is down and food is greed, where convex mirrors cover the walls, where death is honor and flesh is weak. It is ever so easy to go. Harder to find your way back. 

I had a secret. It was a guilty secret, certainly. But it was my secret. I had something to hold on to. It was company. It kept me calm. It filled me and emptied me out. 

Would the fall never come to an end? 

Wasted gives one of the most raw accurate descriptions of not just eating disorders but the thoughts and feelings one goes through. Marya grabs you in with her raw honesty. The front cover claims that this is a book that can save lives, but I think it should be read with caution. While it can be eye opening, it can also be dangerous. I have been triggered many times by reading this book. But that’s the competitor in me always seeking a new competition. But if you ever want to get a glimpse into the world and the eyes of someone who has gone through eating disorders, Marya does it in an amazing way. She does analogies like no one else.

Mental Wellness: The Winter Blues

Generally speaking, I always knew that the winter blues existed and that they were a thing, but I never knew anything more about them beyond just that basic knowledge. My sophomore year of my undergrad, I was in an Elements of Weather class and we had an opportunity for extra credit. I was one of those college kids that jumped for joy for extra credit. The assignment was to write a paper linking your major and the class. So I was sitting there thinking, “how in the world am I supposed to write a paper that links psychology with weather? Well, luckily my professor required his approval on the papers. So I went up there and told him that I wanted to do the extra credit, but I am a psychology major…he then introduced me to SAD. Or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Or, the winter blues.

The winter blues/SAD are just that. With the days being shorter and shorter (up until the winter equinox) and the “miserable” weather of cold, snow, ice, and general just annoyance with the winter season actually has a negative effect on your affect (fingers crossed I used those right…). This article by HuffPo details not only how winter can effect your mood, but also how different seasons can influence your mood.

So my question…is knowledge power? Have you ever noticed that after you find out about something, all of a sudden it is more prominent in your life? I know that I knew about the winter blues, but I never remember being super down during winter or experiencing any depression, but after I wrote that paper about SAD, I am more aware of how I feel down during the winter months. Does anyone else have this same experience?

Overall Wellness: Where Have I Been?

I took the last week off as my work life got more chaotic. I work for a university and A.) as anyone who works for a university can tell you, the beginning of semesters is crazy and B.) as anyone with a job can tell you, there are always busy crazy hectic times. The nature of what I do combined with working with a university made the past couple weeks incredibly busy. On top of that, I have made some changes to my life and figuring out how the rest of the pieces of my life fit in with these changes has been a process.

One of the biggest changes I have made is doing the majority of my workouts in the morning vs. at night like I have been. My usual posting schedule had me posting in the mornings, but fitting that in along with working out in the morning has posed a bit of a challenge. Until this week really. The other big change that I made is that I finally decided to go ahead and get internet in my place. Say whaaaat? Yup. I have lived without true internet since I moved out to Kansas about 18 months ago. I had a nice Android phone with an unlimited data package when I moved out here so it really wasn’t that big of a deal for me to not have internet. When I moved to my new apartment back in September, within two weeks my phone completely broke down and I had to resort to going back to my old Blackberry which made doing everything online on my phone much harder. So I waited out for my contract to end (end of November) and went to a prepaid phone which dropped my phone bill from $100/month to $40/month. I have always said that I refused to pay more that $100/month for phone and internet. So once i moved to the prepaid plan, I had freed up enough of my budget to go ahead and justify purchasing internet.

So in short, there won’t be too many changes to my blog, I will continue having posts queued up to publish in the morning M-F, but I just needed a week to get everything planned out plus getting my internet set up was also needed.

Why I’m Getting A Divorce in 2014.

Why I’m Getting A Divorce in 2014.

Sorry for the lack of posts. Tis the season for a hectic work life that spills way over into my personal time. But I did stumble across this little gem over my quick lunch break yesterday and I wanted to share it. And see if I can get a divorce in 2014. 

But Vanessa, you are not married. Yes! That is correct! But I’m going to work on divorcing my phone and my constant need to be online and on social media to spend time with real people who are right in front of me. 

Physical Wellness: The Whole Package.

I have a deep love affair with Eat This, Not That, mainly because I love how much you learn from such an easy book. I bought my first book on a whim and delved into and learned the careful art of reading a nutrition label. And by careful I mean, less ingredients the better and looking at more than just calories. For me, I tend to look at two main things. Protein and Sugar. Protein high good, sugar high bad. And what I have found along the way is usually shocking. What I thought was a good healthy food ends up being chalked full of sugars which make you crash and are just no good!

That’s why during my lunch hour the other day when I was skimming briefly through Buzz Feed, I bookmarked this article. 16 foods that seem healthy but actually have more sugar than a snickers bar. Now the one thing I’m not so much a fan of is that they don’t give you the full information, but they do give you some good information in the article. I’m not a nutritionist and I have never claimed to be, but I think this is fairly decent information. One of my major hangups when people/articles say “don’t eat this” is that they don’t tell you why it is bad. Just saying, “oh it has a hole bunch of sugar” isn’t enough, at least for me it isn’t. This article points out where the sugars are coming from and what things to be cautious about.

All in all, pretty decent, easy to understand information.

Financial Wellness: Cash Money.

First of all, that phrase “cash money” has always confused me. But anyway, today’s post is in regards to an article I read from LearnVest (or LearningVest…I can’t remember) yesterday. It was 3 people’s stories of how they went from a plastic lifestyle on to an all cash diet. You can read the article HERE (heads up, it’s a little longer than what I usually link to so if you can, read it all, but if you are strapped on time, read the first page and skim the other 3). After tracking my expenses and purchases for the past couple of weeks (plus mulling this around for the past year or so after reading a post that a girl I went to high school wrote about on her now dead blog), I’m going to give this a shot. I’m lucky (or cursed) that I have my bank’s ATM right outside my building, so I can easily get cash when I need it. But it is going to be sticking to the cash. Because here is my problem with having cash, I tend to spend cash if I have it. But I also tend to not realize how much money I am spending when it all just comes off from my debit card. So, in a more concentrated attempt to save money and get my credit cards paid off, I’m going to give the cash diet a try. I’m also really tempted to go ahead and set up a workout jar. My friend Jess did this last year and I think it is a good way to slowly put away money. I’ll have to back date my jar and put in money for workouts that I have already done this year, but I really do like the idea of rewarding myself for working out.

Have you ever dipped your toe into the cash pool? Is it something that interest you?

Intellectual Wellness: Which Is Better?

I tend to get scoffed at quite a bit for having a more “pessimistic” (what I like to call realistic) view on life instead of an optimistic view. And I’m just curious, is one better than the other? This isn’t much of a post today as much as it is just wanting feedback and polling my audience. I will start the conversation by saying that I think both have their pros and cons and it takes both kinds of people to make our world run. I don’t see being pessimistic as a horrible thing and I don’t see being optimistic as the greatest thing ever. I don’t believe that people who are optimistic are “better” than people like me who have a more pessimistic view on the world.

But I’m really curious (aren’t I always?) as to what my readers think. Does it change your view on me and my blog knowing that I’m pessimist more than an optimist? (Also, I see these two things on a continuum, not as categorical variables.) What are your thoughts on these two ways of looking at the world? Are there other variables (like realistic) that we could include in this?  I really wanna know and have a conversation about this because I think it is just downright fascinating to discuss how other people see the world. Here is a situation now how to other people of varying backgrounds, education, religion, views see this situation? Call me crazy (but don’t call me maybe) but that’s an interesting conversation to me!

Mental Wellness: The Fall.

Last night, I was trying to finish up a Harry Potter puzzle my friend Jess sent me (it’s SO HARD!) while watching the Golden Globes (which aired on NBC…and NBC will be broadcasting the 2014 Winter Olympics).  There was a commercial that really resonated with me and it was in regards to the upcoming Winter Olympic games. This commercial is part of P&G “Thank You Mom” campaign and enforces that while you may fall, those falls often end up making you stronger. I think everyone can relate to this because everyone at some point in their life have fallen down and felt defeated. And often times, there is someone in your life that is there to help you back up and you learn from your fall and move forward. Sometimes the falls are more detrimental to our lives, but if you don’t learn something from your fall…

The fall sometimes feels like the worst thing in the world. The feeling of failure sometimes is just unbearable. But when you look back on the fall and you realize what you learned and how you grew, the fall is secretly thanked. Because the fall shaped who you are.