What has school taught me thus far?

enlightenment

It has been almost 5 months since I last posted. With the craziness of school, work, volunteering and the natural stresses of life, my blog has unregrettably fallen to the wayside. Today I want to emphasize the importance of engaging in activities that brings you pleasure, a total sense of absorption, and something that distorts time completely. It is during these activities that we can experience an optimal level of flow and awareness without judgement. It does not matter what the activity is, as long as you are fully immersed in something that you are passionate about, you will reap the short-term and long-term benefits. We need to be able to escape from the stresses of life and invest energy and time into rebuilding, changing, learning, and growing. We need to be the ones in control of our mental health and well being, and not let external factors dictate when our minds and bodies need a break. Do the daily maintenance and routine checkups for your mental, emotional, and physical well being, so you can prevent the big mental breakdowns or physical ailments due to exhaustion.

Ironically, the most important thing I have taken away from my post-secondary education is the importance of making time for yourself. I learned how crucial self-development was once my weeks started running 70-80 hours long between school, work, and volunteering. In retrospect, I am astonished by how much time I wasted when I had free time. The things I used to engage in during my free time were mindless and did not promote engagement or self-realization, activities like aimlessly watching TV when I was bored or surfing the net.  Now that I have such little free time, I’ve learned the importance of maximizing the little time I do have and committing to 20-30 minutes a day for myself. Here are the things I find utterly absorbing and relaxing:

  • Meditation – I enjoy mindfulness, loving kindness, and transcendental meditation
  • Reading – the last few months I have been reading a lot of positive psychology books, I am currently taking a positive psychology class and this area of psychology has really intrigued me. One book that I would highly recommend to everyone is “The How of Happiness” by Sonja Lyubomirsky. She gives you the simple,short-handed findings in the field of positive psychology and evidence-based strategies that can help you cultivate happiness depending on the type of activities that best suit your style.
  • Cooking – intertwining creativity with something that could be considered a daily hassle allows you to enjoy even the mundane tasks. I appreciate the time I put aside each week for meal prepping, because I have the opportunity to make great, healthy food that will nourish my body.
  • Journalling – this could be writing about anything. A specific stressful event that you are experiencing, the day you had, or a memory that you wanted to relive. I have been doing a lot of gratitude lists/entries, it may be that somedays I am grateful for the most simplest things in my life, but regardless it always cultivates appreciation and recognition. I also have a journal that is dedicated solely to quotes. Every few days I try to find a quote that really resonates with me and how I’m feeling at that present moment, I will write it down with the date so when I look back at it I can remember that specific moment.
  • Physical exercise – as soon I get to the gym and start pumping my workout playlist I lose myself in my workout. Once I start my workout I turn my phone off immediately – it is me time. The world can wait while I work on myself. For that hour, no one can disturb me or distract me without my willingness.

Those are the main activities that I engage in to escape my crazy life! Please feel free to share those fully-absorbing activities you practice and would suggest to others!

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Progress Report #7

 

doctor-clipboard PROGRESS REPORT #7

 

 

 

  1. How many days of adopting a vegan diet have I accomplished?
    I am on my 136th day of eating vegan! It honestly feels like it has been longer than four months since I have had any meat. To this day I still have not slipped at all, yippee!!
  2. How do I feel today?
    Today I feel okay. I was involved in a car accident a few weeks ago, so I have been experiencing a lot of stiffness and pain in my back ever since. I  noticed I was getting more stiffness in my joints, specifically in my hands, since the accident. It probably is stress-induced.
  3. How is my energy level?
    My energy level is not great today. I slept for nine hours last night, yet I feel like I could use two whole days to sleep. I have been back at the gym for a few weeks now, which is super exciting. I took a long break from working out and doing any physical activity, because I was in so much pain from being off my steroids. Now that I am physically able to workout, I just have to find time between full-time school, and work. I am hoping that a regular workout regimen will help get my energy level up.
  4. On a scale of 1 to 10, how prevalent are my Lupus symptoms? Joints? Skin? Fatigue? Kidneys?
    My rating: 2-3Joints: My joint pains and morning stiffness have been more prevalent since the car accident, which I am sure is due to stress. I am happy though that I am able to go about my regular routine everyday without any assistance.

    Skin: Since being back on my steroids, the rashes on my scalp have returned. How bizarre! It is something I will bring to the attention of my Rheumatologist when I see him next week. 

    Fatigue: My fatigue levels have been all over the place this week. Most days I am feeling like I need at least another 3-4 hours of sleep. Some days I have had to cancel my plans or errands and take a midday rest to get energy for the evening. 

    Kidneys: The swelling that I get in my legs are back to being very prevalent. It is extremely sensitive to my diet, specifically my sodium intake. It is quite odd that when I was off my steroids I rarely ever got any swelling in my legs from my diet. Now that I am back on my steroids, I am experiencing it more frequently, yet I am still on the same diet. This is something I will definitely mention to my Neurologist when I see her in two weeks. 

  5. Have I displayed any new symptoms? Good or bad.
    No new symptoms to report this week.
  6. How long have I been back on my steroids?
    It has been 49 days and  I am back on my regular dose of steroids now. I am relieved that I am feeling well enough to get back to my usual dose.
  7. Have I learned anything new to adopt in my natural approach?
    I recently started an at home meditation practice. It has been a wonderfully empowering experience. Being that I have a Type-A personality,  I am constantly on-the-go, multitasking, and planning my daily and weekly schedule; it is extremely challenging for me to shut my brain off. I have learned to exercise my mental strength and tune everything out, which is something that doesn’t happen easily for me. I am trying to meditate once a day for 15-20 minutes, either right when I wake up or right before I go to bed. I have found it to be incredibly calming, centering, and relieving. I think that it will really help me alleviate stress from school, work, and life, which will hopefully in turn help my Lupus.