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. 🙂

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? 🙂

This Tostada Should Have Been a Bummer

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On weekends, I love to make myself a nice breakfast while I scramble to make coffee before the caffeine withdrawal headache sets in. One of my favorites is a breakfast tostada, which usually involves some scrambled eggs. However, after making scrambled eggs with vanilla almond milk one too many times (do not recommend), I thought I’d mix it up and fry the eggs instead.

I didn’t have high hopes for this breakfast, since a fried egg on a tostada seemed a little bland. To spice it up, I added some sliced tomato and crumbled goat cheese. This made the whole thing seem a little less sad, but still – it’s a very cursory meal, entirely based on convenience.

UNTIL…

I used my tiny Ikea frying pan to make the eggs! It turns out, this created an egg disc that was exactly the same size as the tostada. It was an incredibly satisfying dish to assemble.

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Those two circles are the same size!

Somehow, the yolks didn’t break as I was cooking the eggs, and the heat from the eggs melted the goat cheese – and runny yolk, gooey cheese, plus crispy tostada? What should have been a disappointing end-of-the-groceries breakfast turned into a satisfying miracle!

In conclusion, go get one of those tiny frying pans.

4 Things I Love (Even Though I Don’t Feel Like It)

I’m having a terrible week! But that doesn’t absolve me from loving stuff. Because I am a lifestyle blogger, and thus, I am obligated to influence the masses.

  1. Cold Brew Coffee. I usually like my coffee like I don’t like my weather: hot. But my friend Will started a cold brew coffee company, and I’m pretty into this whole Cold Bruja Coffee thing. I normally think of iced coffee as a thing to drink in the sunshine on a patio, but I drank this one in bed on Saturday morning while trying to physically meld with my comforter. Is getting out of bed even worth it oops I mean necessary anymore? Also there’s a fun blurb about a witch on the bottle!
  2. Working Behind a Big Desk. My job requires so much sitting that most of my coworkers don’t even know I have legs. Usually this is frustrating and I know it dooms me to die an early death. But yesterday, I was eating the remains of a cold breakfast sandwich and I spilled some chipotle mayo on my sweater. The horror! But with a big desk hiding my whole body and personage, nobody could tell.
  3. Using a Machete. There’s a drought in California, which absolves us of all responsibility for taking care of our lawn we’ve decided. Eventually though, the grass gets too tall to walk through, and my roommate thought a machete was the best way to handle that. I took a turn at lawn macheteing this weekend, and it was a great way to exorcise some demons before I got too tired and collapsed into a crying puddle on the couch. Cathartic!
  4. Night French Toast. On Sunday night I felt so dissatisfied with everything around me and within me, that the only thing that could possibly fix it was to make French toast at 10pm. I don’t know why. I don’t make the rules, I just crack eggs for them. But something about watching maple syrup congeal on a spongey piece of bread really calmed me, and as the one piece of toast cooled too fast while the other one was still cooking, making it impossible to eat both pieces in a neat stack, the chaotic nature of life made sense in a new way. Yum 🙂

4 Things I Love This Week

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I’ll be very ill if I don’t have this!

It’s important to me that you care what I, a successful lifestyle blogger, am into every week. Well, since you asked…

  1. Afternoon Coffee. I’ve been desperately addicted to my morning cup of coffee for a while now. I love the ritual of racing the clock to get to that sweet caffeine before the headache kicks in. But it’s become routine and stale. Yesterday, though, I made myself an afternoon cup of coffee. It felt as joyful as that morning cup used to feel, and might even be opening a door to a brand new addiction!
  2. Ignoring Sports. In LA, the seasons don’t change, and time exists only as a weird amorphous blob where months pass like weeks and suddenly it is the middle of March. This gives me even less awareness of important sport times that other people are paying attention to, and because I don’t live mere blocks away from a baseball hellscape anymore, it’s not being shoved in my face. It all washes right over me, along with what holidays are coming up, which day rent is due, and how old I am.
  3. Small, Nervous Dogs. I was terrified of dogs as a child, and while I got over the fear, I never really became a dog person. But lately I’ve been hanging out with a couple of tiny dogs with tiny anxiety disorders, and their stress makes sense to me. I, too, sometimes shake for no reason and need to be constantly comforted. Often I have heart palpitations and I don’t know why. And my legs are much shorter than they should be.

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    Panic attack in progress.

  4. Staying Hydrated. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been getting a lot of headaches lately. If I go to the doctor, I’m pretty sure they’ll ask me questions like, “Are you getting enough sleep?” Are you drinking enough water?” “Do you exercise?” Obviously: no, no, no. This one seems easiest to address. For the last week, I’ve been drinking a lot of water. Like, actively drinking water. All day. For some reason, I feel a lot better! Also I can’t stop peeing.

4 Things I Love (That You Should Arbitrarily Care About)

 

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This object is larger than it should be, and is also hilarious.

This is a lifestyle blog, and lifestyle blogs LOVE “five things” lists. They also LOVE weekly series. So in order to be a successful lifestyle blogger, every Wednesday I will post a list of four things I loved during the previous week (five seems really ambitious). That’s a lot of loving of stuff, but I think I can handle it.

  1. Stone IPA with Blonde Coffee Roast. I had this beer at Jay’s Bar the other night. All the alcohol of a strong beer plus the bitter dregs of an over-burnt Starbucks roast? Count me in. That sounded sarcastic, but it was perfect. The added perk is that the caffeine is definitely included. I skipped dinner and drank it at 10pm on an empty stomach, which is an experience I recommend. Afterwards I wandered the aisles at Von’s, confused. I think I made a cameo in someone’s grocery store snapchat. I either stayed up all night or fell asleep immediately, and I couldn’t tell which one it was. It’s an experience I’d like to repeat ASAP.
  2. Tastemade’s Tiny Kitchen. This is a series where disembodied hands cook tiny versions of popular dishes. I find it hilarious when any object is smaller or larger than it’s supposed to be, so I’m powerless against this clickbaity nonsense. On the other hand, I can’t even get it together to make myself normal-sized French toast that I could eat for a regular human meal, so it downright offends me that somebody has time to make novelty meals. Feeling torn about this one.
  3. Apocalyptic Weather That Would Be Benign Anywhere Else. I woke up on Monday to a horrible, loud, crashing noise like I’d never heard before. I thought maybe plane fell out of the sky? I was terrified! Except it was thunder. That’s it. Just thunder. In the midwest, storms happy like three times a week and they’re 100% normal and fine. In LA, cloudy skies are a call for panic. Free anxiety? Count me in!
  4. Vending Machine Breakfasts. I was really responsible for about a week – I bought a box of oatmeal packets so I could eat breakfast at work. But those days are over, because I keep forgetting to buy more. So lately I’ve been getting morning snacks from the office vending machine. I love it because it’s better than eating saltines from a drawer in the kitchen, but cheaper than going out for a bagel. Usually I’m responsible and choose something like chex mix or vegetable chips, but this morning I answered the siren song of the mini vanilla sandwich cookies. I feel ill.