Friday, May 11, 2012

On Caring for Yourself When Life Gets Crazy

Let’s start with the good news: I’ve been in a fog all week, and today I feel like it finally broke. I just felt exhausted and half-awake. I’m thinking that stress, poor eating and lack of exercise are probably to blame, so I’ve been trying extra hard to eat well, get my runs in and get back into yoga this week. I felt like I was running through 3 feet of water on Wednesday and Thursday, and my times really showed it. Today, I pulled on my new trail shoes and blew through my morning 5K route in just 26:03 minutes. That is far and away a personal record, and I felt great the whole time. My yoga practice last night also left me feeling sort of invincible – I actually held a forearm stand.

Magic Shoes.
Photo: Me
It continually amazes me how much of a difference taking care of your body can make. It makes all the effort I’ve put in feel worth it. I always try to remind myself of this when I’m thinking of staying at work late and skipping yoga, or sleeping in and missing my run. I feel so much better when I make that time for myself.
It’s a good thing I’m feeling better, because I have a very busy weekend ahead! My parents are flying into town tonight and our couples wedding shower is tomorrow! I can’t wait to see all of our friends and family together, and to get some gifts, of course! The Grige and I have all kinds of fun activities planned for my parents. We’re going to go kayaking, eat some blue crabs, go to a baseball game, and eat at our favorite pizza place. I’m sad that it will be our last chance to host them in DC, but we’re going to make it count!
My Parents, kayaking on our trip to MI last fall
Photo: Chad Fisk
So now, let’s talk about letting your self-care get away from you when things get busy at work, or in life. Last week, I did a big chunk of the planning for a dinner for 550 attorneys followed by a full day conference for 300 attorneys. I take work (and perfection) very seriously, so this was incredibly stressful for me. Especially since I am also planning our wedding – don’t even get me started on the wacked out dreams I had where the two events suddenly combined. I seriously never want to see another seating chart or place-card again right now. Hopefully I get over that in another week or two.

Late night at the office snack. Starbucks actually has pretty healthy snack packs! They're pricey though...
Photo: Me

In preparation for the event, I was slaving over things like nametags, table assignments, RSVPs, and hotel arrangements until after 10:00 pm pretty much every night for 2 weeks. And I learned some things – of course.
1.      It is impossible to make 850 nametags and spell everyone’s name right every time. No one will care if you apologize kindly and re-print a correct one immediately.
2.      It is almost impossible to keep 850 nametags alphabetized while transporting them.
3.      A thoughtfully designed seating plan can make or break an event.
4.      Hotels will lie to you about how many people they can comfortably seat for lunch in a banquet room. There’s probably nothing you can do about it.

I also learned, via my extremely hazy start to this week, that you cannot ignore your body for 2 weeks and not expect consequences. So here is my plan for the next time things get crazy:
1.      Get up and RUN. That extra hour of sleep is not going to help you in the long run. Getting your heart rate up with a run instead of coffee is going to help you feel better all day.
2.      Prepare your lunch and dinner the night before a busy day. Bring them both to work. If you don’t end up staying late, you’ll have lunch for the next day. If you do end up staying late, you will not end up eating pizza or chipotle at your desk at 9:00 pm. I think fast food is a huge culprit in my feeling miserable last week. The Grige and I eat a very “clean” diet, and I feel like tossing a bunch of coffee, pizza and burritos in the tank was a huge mistake. *pro-tip – if it was prepared in less than 10 minutes, it’s probably bad for you.
3.      Take lunch and dinner breaks. If you know you are going to be at work late anyway, take at least 30 minutes to walk away from whatever you are doing at mealtimes. Also, I think I may institute the “yoga dinner break” next time. This way, I won’t miss out on a week of yoga, and then I can work in my loafing ‘loons for the rest of the evening (BONUS!)
So with those thoughts, work isn’t the only thing that impacts how I care for my body. I’m challenging myself this busy weekend to do a long run (whoo 6 miler!) and make it to yoga once. I’m also challenging myself to make healthy choices when we are out at restaurants – this is always my biggest weakness. The big exception will be the crab feast. I plan to stuff myself silly at that!
Happy Cinco de Drinko!
Me: Making bad decisions at a restaurant
Photo: Megan Shiley
How do you take care of yourself when life gets crazy?


  1. ugh, I have been trying to prepare myself for the marathon that is May to October. I've been trying REALLY hard (not hard enough though) to go to bed at 9:30 and wake up at 5. Getting up early to do all the things you talked about, is the only way I can see to get them done. Because it is so not happening after work. Problem is waking up at 5 is a challenge for me. Understatement of the yeeeeear. We should run after work one day though! NI do love to sweat and then going back to the office in my fave spandex.

  2. Does it crush your writer's soul to see all my typos? yikes...

  3. haha - I do not know how you can possibly train for a marathon in october. Seriously, when do you run??? I am definitely down for a running break though, let's just do it before your mileage totally surpasses me. Good luck with the early wake-up calls! Sometimes special breakfast food helps me actually make it out of bed...