I’m Alive!

Hello world. It’s been at least half a year, no? Since my last post, not a ton has changed, and yet, so much has.

-Moved and my kitty is back with me, happy as can be

-I’ve totally adjusted to the fellowship and am loving the work

-Passed the EPPP! 1/2 way to full licensure!

-Wedding planning is in full force…albeit, with work and studying and budgeting…it hasn’t been very fun for me

-I don’t really see me as a creative type but writing (among other creative outlets) is something I really want to work on…hopefully that can build with the space here

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Life Lately

Postdoc life has almost gotten into full swing…while I’m not completely on my “home” unit full time yet, I’m back to working full days and commuting…which will be at least an hour each way pretty soon since I’m moving! I’m not too excited about having a longer commute, but I definitely am excited to be living closer to the City (i.e., SF) and things to do (not that I can really afford it…I owe Auntie Sallie a lot of money). The last few weeks have been full of orientation and introductory training (stay away from broken tiles- there might be asbestos! don’t take your keys home…otherwise you will have to come all the way back and return them, no matter how far away you live! don’t get into elevators by yourself with inmates!)

I usually get home, hit the gym/run, then make dinner. By the time I settle in, it’s about 8-9pm and my brain doesn’t want to function…which means no capacity to study for licensing (which I really need to do) or blogging (which I really want to do). On top of all of this, I’ve been apartment hunting (glad that’s over with now) and trying to start wedding planning…needless to say, all is pretty stressful and overwhelming, all at once. I’m hoping that when we’re finally in our own space and I get my fur-baby back, things will fall into place and I’ll have a routine that consistently includes studying and blogging =).

Can’t wait to get this cutie patootie pie back!

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Mini Update

Yikes. It’s been a while since I last posted…life (aka, Fellowship) has gotten in the way. I’m happy to have gotten started with the training year, but still feel like I’m in a transitional period, since we are still looking to move soon.

I’ve been able to keep up with my training plan (relatively) though, which I’m pretty happy about. Lots of foam-rolling and hip/glute work too, which I think has definitely contributed to my awesome training run today. Although I my time wasn’t where I wanted it to be, the run was pain free, for the first time in a long time! I still have about 7 weeks to train, so hopefully I can improve on the speed. I’m just happy that there was no pain =).

Being an Introvert in an Extrovert’s World

There’s a Western saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” which is typically used to convey the idea that those who are the loudest are more likely to get attention. On the other hand, a more Eastern saying goes something like, “The nail that stands out gets hammered down.” Contrary to the Western notion that it’s “better” to be loud so that you can get noticed, in collectivistic/Eastern communities, standing out is actually a “bad” thing.

I’ve struggled with my identity as an introvert (or more accurately, an ambivert with more introverted tendencies). On one hand, it’s a part of my personality and also cultural upbringing. Growing up in a collectivistic family, you’re taught to defer to your elders, be seen and not heard. This approach does not work well in the Western workplace, especially in places that work in teams. When I was a trainee working on a large multi-disciplinary team in a setting where we did primarily group work, I often listened to the group discussion and offered my opinions when I felt like I had something important to say. I often worried that I would be perceived as an “inadequate” clinician or didn’t know what I was doing because I didn’t talk as much as some of my other colleagues. During my exit reviews, one of my colleagues even said, “At first, I thought you were going to be meek.”

Introversion

Although I know that he didn’t mean the comment to be mean in anyway, it made me angry because it was such a stereotypical view of who an introverted person (an Asian-American at that) is. Just because I don’t always have something to say does NOT mean that I’m going to be a meek or submissive person. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with being meek, but I don’t identify as such and I definitely don’t let people walk all over me.  But I, too, held on to some of the stereotypical views about introversion and thought of my introverted characteristics to be “bad.” My supervisor gave me some feedback that was helpful: my ability to listen before I speak and talk when I have something important to say were actually strengths, especially as a clinician. I talked a lot with my supervisor about how I could still be authentic/myself (i.e., listen > talking), maintain my presence, gain respect from my colleagues, and “move up in the world.”

So I’ve been glad to see this trend in social media (e.g., Pinterest), blogs, and news pieces that explain what introversion actually is. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in this struggle and that other introverts in the world are successful leaders. As I continue becoming an “adult” in my profession, I hope to be able to navigate and negotiate being an introvert in an extrovert’s world and be successful!

Are you an extrovert or introvert? Pros/cons of being an extrovert/introvert?

Meal and Workout Planning

It’s been a rough week in terms of writing on the blog. I usually have a ton of ideas and inspiration but when it comes down to putting it to paper (computer?), it’s a lot harder. When it comes to scientific writing, it’s so much easier…but then again, I’ve spent most of my life writing that way. I’m hoping that over time, my non-scientific writing skills (aka blog writing) will improve. You just gotta do it, right?

For those who have a difficult time with a journal - to start an entry it's okay to wright the same thing over and over and over again or a list of what you did that day, it will spark other thoughts. #quote #exercisethewritingmuscle #coolquote

Most of the bloggers and fitness experts advocate for using Sundays as days for planning and prepping meals and workouts for the week. I definitely see how planning ahead and prepping ahead keeps one “in line” with his or her goals. It’s harder for me to stick with any plans, especially when it comes to meals, since fiancé and I tend to eat whatever it is we’re craving for the day. But I do try to cook 80% of our meals at home and we are 80% consistent with our workouts, so I think we do a pretty good job. It’s all about balance and doing what works for you.

Balance

Despite not doing the whole meal planning thing, what makes it easy to be on track with our meals is that we’re (well, mostly me) pretty simple with our meals. Usually it’s a combination of a source of protein, carbs, and veggies. For me, lunches are either leftovers from last night’s dinner, salads, or sandwiches. I’ll also bring lots of snacks and fluids with me to get me through the day. Breakfast is either oatmeal with PB and fruit, or a homemade egg mcmuffin sandwich. Because my meals are generally pretty basic (but tasty!), it’s pretty easy not to fall off track with my meals.

With the Ragnar Relay and Nike Womens Half Marathon coming up, I need to be more consistent and strategic with my training, so I am going to make more of an effort to plan my workouts during the week. This will definitely help me get in and out of the gym, especially now that I am starting work back up again and needing to commute 2 hours a day (ew and ouch!).

This week’s plan:

  • Sunday: Runday, 5 miles (done)
  • Monday: Foamrolling (lots of it!), light cardio (crosstraining), and ab work
  • Tuesday: 3 miles with intervals/speedwork, chest/arms
  • Wednesday: Leg day
  • Thursday: 3 miles with intervals/speedwork, back
  • Friday: 6 miles?
  • Saturday: off

 

Mindfulness: What is it?

Mindfulness has been an increasingly popular topic of research and is incorporated in many of the “third-wave” cognitive-behavioral therapies. There are both mental and physical benefits to mindfulness (including happiness), which I will describe in the following posts. Today’s post will focus on what mindfulness is and give you a primer on how to start your mindfulness practice.

So what exactly is mindfulness? There are a few different definitions:

  • “Bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis.” (Marlatt & Kristeller)
  • “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn).
  • “Consciously bringing awareness to your here-and-now experience, with openness, interest and receptiveness.” (Russ Harris, 2007)

Simply put, there are three basic steps to mindfulness.

Mindfulness in 3 steps

An important point to remember about mindfulness is that you take a non-judgmental approach to it. I’ve heard a lot of people say things like, “I can’t do it right,” “My thoughts are still there,” or “I keep getting distracted.” That’s okay!! The key to mindfulness is noticing, paying particular attention to your experience. If you’re noticing that you’re getting distracted- you’re being mindful! If you notice that you’re having XYZ thoughts- you’re being mindful! Especially for beginners, this is exactly what being mindful is all about: learning to slow down and just notice your experiences.

When you feel more comfortable with doing the more “basic” mindfulness exercises, you can start doing specific mindfulness meditative practices that guide you in letting thoughts go, breathing into your experiences, or focusing on the breath, and so forth. I’ve listed some resources below. Next time, I’ll focus on the benefits of mindfulness and exercise and physical health.

Infographic: What is Mindfulness Meditation? .... You're supposed to meditate at the beginning and end of each yoga class too.

I’ve personally found mindfulness to be helpful in my life. While I can’t scientifically prove it, I like to think that my mindfulness practice helped me to control my blood pressure (along with other stress-reduction and diet changes, of courses). After mindfulness meditation practices, I feel invigorated, more awake, and refreshed. It also has helped my to improve my running, as I’ve been more mindful about my breath and my running form.

Have you practiced mindfulness before? How has it been helpful?

Resources:

Guided Mindfulness Exercises

Fun Fridays

1) Pretty sure…like 95% sure…that I will be doing the Ragnar Relay…one month prior to the Nike Women’s SF Half. Not sure what I’m thinking, especially because I’m rehabbing my ITBS and really want to PR, but it just sounds too fun and challenging to pass up.

2) Shrimp + Sriracha + apples? Sounds too good to resist. I need to try this ASAP.

3) If you live in the SF Bay Area and need something to do on Sat…hit up the San Francisco Street Food Festival. Not only will you get a ton of yummy foods, but you get to support an amazing cause as well, as the festival is sponsored by La Cocina. “La Cocina is a non-profit incubator kitchen that provides affordable commercial kitchen space and industry-specific technical assistance to low-income and immigrant entrepreneurs who are launching, growing and formalizing food businesses.”

On a separate note, I’m going to start a series on Mindfulness next week…I’m excited about it, hopefully anyone who reads this baby blog of mine will be too. =)

What are you up to this weekend? Have a great one!

Choosing to Be Uncomfortable

Yesterday, Under Armour tweeted, “Which would you rather do? A) sprint the length of a football field 6 times or B) run 3 miles?” This was a no-brainer for me: Sprint 6 times. This wasn’t because sprinting 6 times is easier for me…but in fact, because I perceive it to be so much more difficult. I figured, I would rather do something that will challenge me and make me a better, faster runner.

I tend to choose the more challenging options most of the time and try to set goals that will push me out of my comfort zone. It’s not because I like to feel uncomfortable or want to be vulnerable, but because I know that it will push me to be better. This is true in all aspects of life. In fitness, your body does not change unless you get uncomfortable- increase the weights, do intervals, push the speed, and so forth. With nutrition, getting away from the “comfort” of foods that tend to be unhealthy (e.g., sugary or salty foods). And in relationships, taking emotional risks: letting people in and being vulnerable even though you’ve been hurt before and it’s incredibly scary.

Change quote. #rfdreamboard

I think the one thing that keeps us all from taking those risks (or me, at least), is because it’s not easy to be vulnerable and to be exposed to criticisms. Getting hurt is not fun, whether it’s physical or emotional. And when I talk about taking risks, I’m talking about calculated risks, not ones that are obviously dangerous. On the other hand, what happens when we don’t take those calculated risks? What do we miss out on?

Change Quotes | http://noblequotes.com/

As I wrote in a previous post, one thing that helps us to grow and get better is the willingness to be vulnerable, ask questions, be open to feedback and criticisms. Change is uncomfortable, so if you want it, challenge yourself! This mindset has definitely helped me out in all areas of my life: I’ve been able to increase my speed and get stronger; control my blood pressure; finish my Ph.D. in 5 years (when it can take anywhere from 5-7 years). I’m not saying that everyone should take this approach, but the research points to the benefits of taking risks and challenging yourself.

What are some things that you haven’t done because it’s too scary or too challenging? What gets in the way? Do something this week that is scary or challenging and report back!

Inspiration for Inspiration

I go through phases of feeling inspired and motivated in various aspects of my life: eating, working out, work-related, writing, and so forth. Sometimes I’m fresh with inspiration and am motivated to put energy into whatever it is that I’m doing…other days it feels like a struggle. It is during these times that I am reminded how living a life without passion or inspiration can be so limiting, unfulfilling. I am grateful to be working in a field that I am extremely passionate about and doing work that is incredibly meaningful. Grateful to be able to try new things (e.g., blogging) and cultivate other ways of remaining motivated and inspired in my life.

Pinterest, Instagram and other blogs are a great source for me to re-inspire myself and remind myself to keep working hard on the things that I love.

This is your LIFE.  Visit www.photofunbooths.comBreathe, trust, let go, and see what happens...

 

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How do you find inspiration in your life? What keeps you going?

Fun Fridays

1) For cat-lovers. Hilarious!

2) Try to suppress your laughs. Just try.

3) I definitely want to try this cake from the lovely Ayesha Curry

4) Lunch with a good friend and then dinner with parents today. Girls night with MIL and SIL Saturday.

What are you guys up to this weekend?