Fight Fatigue the Most Natural Way

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Here is an unrelated picture of a coffee cup.

Lately, I’ve been feeling extra tired and run down. I’m always a little more tired than I should be, but it seems like I’m starting to border on non-functional. I’ve been a little concerned about this and thought it might be time for professional intervention, so I turned to Google to see what doctors have to say about battling fatigue.

The research is conclusive: sleep more, exercise, take vitamins. See how easy it is to feel better? So based on that research, I made one simple change in my life:

I started drinking a second cup of coffee every day.

It’s a new afternoon ritual that brings joy to my day, and it gives me an extra jolt of productivity just when I’m starting to fade. Plus, I can still stay up late to the point of nausea every night! And that is a healthy change I can embrace. 🙂

I Hiked Alone and Didn’t Die!

Hiking is so popular in LA that even I have done it a few times. It’s an activity that involves nature, strenuous activity, and general discomfort, but sometimes I’m forcibly dragged on one anyway. So I whine a lot and try to make the other person turn around and get ice cream after ten minutes. Usually that doesn’t work thought, and I go on a hike. But never alone, until now!

I took the day off work for a thing that ultimately got cancelled, so I found myself with a rare free morning. I thought a calm, solo hike would be a great way to break my routine and re-center. And because I love failing at things, I chose the Wisdom Tree. It’s a short but rugged hike that ends at the top of a peak where there is one lone tree. It’s awesome! But usually I don’t make it to the top, because I’m out of shape.

When I was alone, I whined less. I whined to strangers on the trail a little, but mostly I was quiet. The walk from my car to the start of the hike was already a steep hill, so I was tired before I began. Then my legs grew heavier with every step. But I kept going! I climbed and climbed until…

VICTORY!

….I got tired and gave up. I didn’t make it to the top. But I probably made it over halfway up, and then I went to get a breakfast burrito, so I still consider it a huge success 🙂

My Favorite Apps for Changing Nothing About My Lifestyle

It seems like these days, there’s an app to improve just about every part of your life. A lot of them look time-consuming and stressful, but not these. Here are some apps I love for creating the smallest illusion of life change.

I’ve been trying to get more sleep, so I downloaded Sleep Cycle a few months ago. It’s an app that runs during the night and, like magic, tracks your sleep patterns (based on breathing I guess? Technology is scary). I love it because it “reminds” me to pay attention to how much sleep I’m getting every night, even though I’ve made no effort to improve my habits at all. It also tracks my sleep quality, which is generally poor.

SworkIt is an app where a small person leads you in five minute workouts. “Stretching” is pictured above but “yoga,” “strength,” and “cardio” are also available workout options. What’s great about this one is that you can watch the little person do your workout and still feel as if you get some of the benefits. Plus it’s only a five minute investment of your time, so how hard can it be to keep up with it? Also I use it rarely.


5 Every Day is a fantastic resource for all Los Angeles folks. It was made by some sort of public radio station, maybe? Anyway, it’s my favorite way to learn what’s going on around town so I can feel bad for not going to even more things. Until I got this app, I had no idea what gallery openings and concerts I was missing out on every single day of the week. The simple interface makes it easy to think “ooh, I should check that out!” every day, and then sit at home with Netflix.

Travel Fashion: I Wore an Outfit

As a successful lifestyle blogger it’s important to travel a lot to expand my lifestyle, so I took one trip and will milk it for two weeks of posts. When traveling, you can’t just wear any outfit, you have to wear an outfit. So I wore one.

I wore this outfit in front of a mural.

I love this ensemble I wore one day in Chicago, so I don’t know, maybe you should wear it too? The thing I love most about this outfit is that it contains articles of clothing that go together. It features a skirt I acquired at a clothing swap, some thrift store boots, an old white tshirt from Target, and a sweater whose origin I don’t remember. So good luck finding any of these pieces, but maybe try?

I wore this outfit in front of Del Close.

I wore this outfit while I ate a sandwich. (Not pictured: most of outfit)

I wore this outfit on the brown line. (Not pictured: outfit or brown line)

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I wore this outfit while I looked at these toy cars in a parking lot. (Not pictured: me, outfit)

Photo and Train Friendship By Cynthia Bangert

My Deepest Secret: How to Make Anything a Meal


Hello, loyal readers. Being a successful lifestyle blogger is not as easy as it looks. In order to share my self-actualized, spiritually whole lifestyle with the masses, I need to be willing to let you into my life. You come here to get the secrets of the universe, and there’s a lot of pressure on me to deliver.

Well, now that we’ve known each other for a few months, I feel like I finally trust you enough to divulge my most adequate secret. The cardinal rule of an adequate lifestyle:

If you put it in a tortilla, it’s a meal.

For example, if I put cream cheese, spinach, and salad dressing in a tortilla? That’s dinner.

Nutella and craisins in a tortilla? Also dinner…AND dessert.

Tortillas are easy to keep on hand, and any combination of ingredients from the dregs of last week’s grocery trip will co-mingle inside. That’s right, ANY ingredients, whether it’s leftover sauteed veggies or the last shavings from the bottom of a bag of shredded cheddar. No matter the ingredients and/or sauces, if you wrap a tortilla around it, it qualifies as a “wrap.”

You’re welcome.

 

 

Exercise Hack: Develop a Habit

I get it. It can be really hard to stick to an exercise plan. I had the same problem, until I finally found something that matches my life and motivation levels.

Every day, I put on my workout clothes. That’s it! That’s the plan. Sounds easy, right?

But usually, when I put on my workout clothes, I at least feel guilty enough to run around the block or do a couple sun salutations. And getting started is half the battle. The other half is quitting immediately.

My Competent Guest: Office Fitness

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Camille does her exercises.

I’m extremely adequate. But that doesn’t mean I can be adequate at everything, all the time (I’m only human!). Sometimes, I need to seek the help of someone who is just as adequate as I am. So I’m pleased to present my first interview with a Guest Competent Person!

Work days are long, and sitting kills people. So when I wanted to learn about how to get more exercise at work, I talked to my friend and fellow blogger Camille Campbell.

Camille has been a dedicated assistant since she graduated from college (she declined to say when she graduated). When she started life as an “office drone” she was worried that she would have to sacrifice her physical well being in order to earn a paycheck, but then she created a revolutionary ‘stay fit at work’ program. I met up with her at her favorite donut shop to discuss her body goals and office fitness, or as she calls it, Offness™.

Julie: Tell us about your Offness™ routine.
Camille: The core of my practice revolves around breakfast. Every morning I have breakfast at my desk, usually some Lucky Charms and then two hard boiled eggs with 5 tablespoons of Cholula, and to carry all that food involves a lot of delicate balancing, shifting weight between arms, while engaging my core. Then once I make it to my desk, I don’t get my coffee until later. That way I’ll get up from my desk to get my coffee. That’s the beauty of Offness™ – it’s subtle and smoothly blends in with your day.
J: I don’t think I could commit to anything that makes me delay coffee, but maybe I’ll get there someday. Besides breakfast, what are some other ways you practice Offness™?
C: There are so many ways to creatively enjoy Offness™. Yesterday, I printed all the reports I needed at a printer in another building. Then I went and looked for them. Took me twenty minutes, so that’s almost one of the three recommended 30 minute workouts doctors suggest you do every week. To get those other two workouts in, I’ll drink a lot of water to increase my trips to the bathroom. People think I’m speed walking to the bathroom because I really have to go, but it’s just a part of my program.
J: Wow. I’m lucky to get five minutes of cardio when I’m running for the bus! What about strength training? Flexibility?
C: My desk is in a very public area, so there’s a limited number of socially acceptable movements I can do. I tend to do hourly leg lifts under my desk. I just lift one leg up and then the other. It keeps the blood flowing in my legs. Or I’ll print out copies of my favorite gchat conversations, so I’ll need to refill the printer more. We keep our paper on a bottom shelf in the supply closet, so that’s one squat, and the paper acts as a three pound weight, more if you take two reams. Exercise is all around us once you look for it.
J: Thats a beautiful mantra. Do your coworkers support your efforts?

C: I was questioned about my use of office paper. But I just let our Office Manager, Jared Krakowski, know that it’s part of my fitness plan, and I have every right to take care of myself. He was very understanding. He’s been trying to walk to his car in the parking lot more, and I can tell it’s made a difference for him. This is why Offness™ is the best kind of fitness – it forces you to express who you are and fight for your rights in the workplace.

J: What about diet? I notice you’re eating an apple fritter right now.
C: Offices are not known for their healthy food, so if you’re going to adapt and thrive in an urban office fitness environment, you have to be able to eat whatever and whenever. This donut keeps me training on a Saturday.
J: Yes, speaking of Saturdays, how do you practice Offness™ on the weekends?
C: This is one of my two rest days. All fitness plans have rest days.
(Camille then stared at me for an uncomfortably long time.)
J: I see… Well, how many calories do you estimate that you burn per day practicing Offness™?
C: Offness™ isn’t about burning calories. Because when you turn the whole office into your gym, it’s impossible to count how many calories you’re burning. I mean how many calories do you burn typing? Your fingers do a lot of lifts and crunches, but how do you measure that? No one knows, so we don’t count those calories, which is a sizable loss if you’re trying to count calories. So you can’t measure Offness™ with calories. You have to measure it with results – how does it make you feel.
J: I like feelings. How does Offness™ make you feel?
C: Before I started Offness™ I never moved – I just sat, counting the hours until I could go home and sit and watch “Call the Midwife.” Now I feel alive and filled with zest, and I’ve done that without disrupting my life with jogging, yoga or any other aggressive form of exercise.
J: Has your body changed since you started practicing Offness™?
C: I think it has, but until Jared agrees to buy scales for the bathrooms I won’t really know. And on one level I’m okay with that. Because like I said, Offness™ isn’t about results. It’s more about surrender and compliance.

My Excruciating Morning Routine

 

Start every morning with a smile!

I’ll admit it: I have a tough time with mornings! That sinking feeling when I remember that I have to face another day? It’s nearly unbearable.

I think we all know that getting out the door in the morning can be tough. Until the first cup of coffee, my worst enemy is conscious thought. I find that having a little structure is the key to an easy, painful morning. Here’s mine:

6:45 – First alarm goes off. I try to remember who I am.

6:52 – Second alarm goes off. I try to remember where I am.

7:00 – Third alarm goes off. I reset this alarm for 7:05.

7:05 – Fourth alarm goes off. The last alarm. This is a terrible moment.

7:07 – I think about getting out of bed.

7:08 – I actually get out of bed.

7:09 – I brush my teeth and curse the world.

7:12 – I gather my clothes out of a pile of work-wear that lives on a table in the corner. I get back into bed and curl into a little ball.

7:15 – I think, “I should really put on these clothes.”

7:16 – I debate calling in sick, changing my identity, and starting a new life on an island.

7:17 – I put on those clothes.

7:19 – I look for my purse and curse the world.

7:20 – I stumble to the bus stop.

It’s that simple – just those exact steps every day, and I’m out the door in 35 minutes flat. Easy! Breezy! Miserable! If I divert by even one minute, I will never go to work again and my bed will swallow me up forever.

Now it’s your turn! What helps you get going in the morning? 🙂