How to get up early on a regular basis

I’m usually a pretty early riser; my alarm sounds at 5 am (5:30 on a good day) and I (almost) never hit snooze. Right now, I’m gearing up for a 4 am wake-up call on Friday to travel to a super awesome conference…which of course I’m almost simultaneously dreading and excited about.

alarm clock1

But here are a few tips to make getting up early a little bit less painful:

1. Don’t hit snooze! If I need to get up by a certain time, snoozing does not help. It just makes me feel more tired and grouchy at the fact that I do need to be up and getting ready to be productive. I usually lay in bed for a minute and look at my phone, just to get my brain up and at ’em.

2. Turn on all the lights. Even if it’s not super dark. Daylight Savings has given us the privilege of *needing* a million lights in the morning but even before DS I was still cranking up the electricity.

3. Have a routine. I look at email on my phone while laying in bed, get up and shower/brush my teeth, eat breakfast, and then drink tea/blog. I do the same exact thing every single morning, which is helpful in knowing how long I need to get ready and keeps me from making dumb early morning mistakes.

4. Set out your clothes and make your lunch the night before. Doing this makes me feel like a mom but it’s ever so helpful. Trying to decide what to wear in a dark bedroom or making sure you have enough time to rush to make lunch has never worked for me.

5. Eat breakfast. I’m addicted to caffeine so I drink it all. the. time. but I usually feel leaps and bounds more awake after I fill myself up with delicious goodness.

6. Have a super warm robe and slippers next to your bed. I hate being cold so knowing that, when I throw off the covers, I am only 30 seconds away from being cozy again is helpful.

7. Have a daily to-do list. I make one online and have it emailed to my phone every morning (via Sunrise) so I know what to prep for.

8. Do it every day. Some mornings I have the chance to sleep in until a “normal” hour of 7:30. Unless I’ve been extremely sleep deprived or it’s the weekend, I’ll rarely switch my wake-up time. That way I get sleepy at around the same time every night and get used to the earlier wake-up call.

9. Sometimes it sucks. Some mornings I wake up and all I want to do is skip class or clinicals and sleep for the next month. Sometimes I burn my toast or make my tea to hot. Sometimes I start doing something and end up running late. Knowing that it sucks is half the battle.

10. But know that you have to do it. The boy always asks me how I manage to get up before the sun. Well, it’s easy…I have to. If I didn’t need to be  up at 5, I’d probably sleep until a cozy 8:00 am and start my day from there. But knowing I don’t have a choice in the matter…that’s the other half of the battle.

What early morning tips do you have?

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Confessions of a future doctor, part deux

1. I sometimes read funny tumblr sites to make me feel better about my agony in school. Some of my faves:

I prefer you call me doctor

How do I put this gently

2. When patients cancel because of the rainy weather and I look outside and it’s perfectly sunny out, I want to tear my hair out. Is the inability to drive in any sort of precipitation just a southern thing? I feel like it is…

drizzling

3. I had dinner with a friend I haven’t seen since December last night and it was amazing. We drank way too much tea (no wine was involved, hurray good choices!) and ate way to much garlic bread and talked about relationships/weddings/school and had normal adult conversations that I haven’t had since the semester started. I don’t have many out-of-the-department friends…

4. I’ve re-done my running schedule for the week because I fully realize that I am a) not going to exercise on Friday after having gotten up at 4 am to travel to a conference, b) not going to exercise on Sunday because said conference is having a party and I won’t want to mess up my hair that day, and c) I’ll probably only feel like running 2 miles on Saturday because, again, said conference is having a party and I’m getting my hair did…plus it’s in a cold place and southerners don’t like cold places OR precipitation.

{M: I ran 4!, TU: 4.5 miles, W: 4 miles, TH: 4.5 miles, F: Rest y’all, Sa: 2 to 3 miles, Su: More rest}

{Total: 19-20 miles, better than last week and closer to the 21 I want to be running every week} 

5. I’m currently trying to decide on my specialty. Definitely something pediatric. I currently have a pediatric rotation and a baby threw up on me and a parent yelled at me and I still love it. But there are so many choices.

choices

Happy Tuesday, y’all! I’m presenting to a group of undergrads today about whatever topics they want to ask me about…so wish me luck.

What does your Tuesday look like? 

Today I learned…

That I love productive mornings. I woke up at 6:30 knowing that I didn’t have to be at school until noon. Which was rough when my alarm went off. But after doing the dishes, baking a cake, running, showering, and eating breakfast…I feel pretty darn accomplished. And I’m questioning my decision for further education…who needs to be a doctor when there are nice mornings to be had?

That “pyramid runs” are the key to beating boredom on the treadmill. I started at 6.0 and sped up 0.1 mph every 0.1 mile. Then once I reached my max comfort (which today was 6.5 mph until the last mile, when my legs decided they wanted to go to 7.0) I would start on back down.

That walk-running is a legit thing. I ran 4 miles today. But 0.3 of those miles were walked at 3.8 mph and a 3% incline. I used to not count my walking warm up as part of my run…but why not? Especially since I’m trying to slowly up my mileage without injury. I still went 4 miles…what are your thoughts on walk-running?

That I love routine. Okay, I’ve known that for my entire life basically. But I texted no less than 5 classmates to make sure that we didn’t have to be at school this morning because even though I was *loving* being at home, it still freaked me out to not be doing my usual Monday morning activities.

Balance is key. I’m training to make people healthy again so many of my professors and clinical supervisors do not agree with the “balance is key” idea. They think that I need to eat, sleep, and breathe school. And true, some days I do. And on those days I make flash cards on my phone so I can study at all times. But some days I don’t. And I need those days for my sanity.

{Today’s workout}

4 miles!

What is your workout for today? 

Confessions of a future doctor

1. The first thing I do every morning is drink at least two gigantic mugs of tea. On a good day, I’ll follow that up with only a green tea in to bust the 3 pm blues. On a tired day, I’ll follow that up with espresso + green tea…at the very least

caffeine

 

2. When I wear my glasses, my patients are more receptive to my recommendations. Because apparently glasses do make you look smarter sometimes.

glasses

 

3. Part of the reason that I picked the wedding dress that I did is so that I wouldn’t have to worry about wearing spanx. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

spanx

 

4. I love watching the Kardashians. Like an unhealthy amount of love. But when Kim K said that she wasn’t going to get allergy shots because she was “detoxing her system” of “bad thing” I almost exploded. Allergy shots are just solutions of what you are allergic that, when injected, help your body build immunity.

peasant

 

5. At the gym, I obsessively wipe down the treadmill (or whatever machine I’ve been on) with their disinfectant wipes when I’m done working out. And sometimes before…

clorox

 

 

 

 

Embracing life

Ack, I am the *epitome* of a blogging fail.

Every night, as I sit on my couch watching HGTV, I think about how I should write a post. And every time I return to WordPress and begin typing, I wonder why I ever left. I’m not an excellent writer, but I love it, and it makes me feel wonderful. It’s cathartic, especially when wearing cozy pajamas and sipping a huge mug of tea.

revive

So really, now that the semester is winding down, I am going to make a more concerted effort to right. For a few reasons…

1) Wedding planning. Yep, we set a date! I don’t often talk about getting engaged but now that wedding planning is the only other major thing in my life aside from school, it’s hard to ignore that fact…it is all consuming

2) Research. I need to practice writing. Even if my blog is just a brain dump, some writing is better than no writing.

3) Perspective. Often, putting things down makes me realize that either I am right or just being plain crazy. It’s the latter more often than I’d like to admit…

4) Health. It’s time to keep myself accountable.

5) Embracing life, a.k.a the most important reason. I don’t want to be the bride who is so stressed out with planning her wedding that she has no time to enjoy it. I don’t want this time in my life to just fly by without me stopping to soak it all in. I want to rekindle my relationship with God and really love the whole ritual of church. I want to practice being thankful for everything, even when I really just want to shout and stomp my feet.

So yay, here’s to December.

 

Snubbed {and science + nutrition}

My last few posts have been somewhat dreary, I admit. They’re all about me feeling completely unmotivated, me having wonderful interpersonal issues in the lab, me feeling just generally discontent.

That is, overall, how this week has gone for me.

The only way to describe it would be: Meh.

Trying to find the energy to care is exhausting, caring too much and then crying about caring too much is exhausting. And today was just the cherry on top of an exhausting week.

Without going into too much detail, I got snubbed. Whether this was done by the girl I vented about yesterday purposefully or was just sheer oversight, I cannot say. But it happened, my months of contribution was left out, and I found myself fighting back tears reading the “congratulations to blah blah blah and blah [excluding me]” email in the library.

Yep, that is a spectacular feeling.

I’ve always been quiet, I’ve also been “less noticeable” because I don’t create drama and would rather be noticed through my excellent work and not a loud mouth. So when I don’t get noticed at all, even after I put in just as much work as everyone else, tears and eating giant bags of Doritos happen.

Which brings me to my next subject: Nutrition and Science

{And no, this is not going to be a nutrition lesson…it’s more about the lack thereof}

My lab-mates and I are often study in the lab approximately 10 hours a day. So when it comes time to order food, we are typically tired and stressed and ready to eat our feelings (yes, even the males…and it’s a male dominated lab) it’s like a 13 year old boy is there making the decisions for us.

Tonight, for example, we are having an impromptu evening lab meeting. The dinner choice? Pizza delivery.

Our lab snack of choice is Doritos.

Our lab dessert of choice are cookies.

Needless to say, unless I plan ahead and bring my lunch/dinner, I end up eating quite unhealthily.

But as far as I can tell, this phenomenon is not limited to the lab that I work in…when I occasionally leave the dungeon and converse with other graduate students, they typically have the same story of, “yeah, we subsist on Cheetos and Chinese take-out most days”.

And it seems to me that the cycle of stress + limited time + long hours + the deliciousness of junk perpetuates itself. I find myself unable to chip into the take-out dinner pool…not because my lab mates would think any less of me, but just because I find myself wanting to be part of the group. Sure, we could bond while all eating our own dinners, but bonding is so much stronger when we’re all sitting in a circle on the floor, talking about what we accomplished during the day and munching on the same pizza.

Lame, I know.

Lately I’ve been stirring the idea of weekly potlucks in my brain…but can’t imagine how that would turn out any healthier. So I am humbly bowing down and asking for advice: how do you eat healthier when your whole lifestyle is seemingly built around eating unhealthy? 

This morning is brought to you by…

…caffeine.

Coffee. With milk. No sugar.

Usually, I at least attempt to make it to lunch time without having to succumb to my coffee desires. But this week has not started off on the right foot, energy wise. I have a lighter schedule this week, patient-wise and class-wise, so you’d think it’d be a little easier to drag my butt out of bed at my normal 5:30 am wake-up.

Nope.

It’s now 8 am and I am still on the couch, in my pajamas, sipping [no, really…*chugging*] coffee in hopes that I can be semi-awake for my 9 am research subject.

Oy.

Running? Yeah…hasn’t happened so much. My plan for a 5 miler today turned into a plan to catch up on reading articles pertaining to my research project and trying to fend off a cold.

Sunday I did a wonderful fall 5 mile run. Hilly, challenging, but wonderful.

Monday was a planned rest day.

Tuesday was a planned 2-miler day. It turned into a me getting off from work late and shoveling dinner into my mouth instead of running day.

But I admit, even though my #1 goal at this moment is to run a sub-60 min 10k right now, I don’t feel terrible about skipping runs and choosing rest over anything else, really. Again, with a lighter schedule you’d think it’d be easier for me to go about my day normally but since weeks like these are so *rare*, I find myself wanting to soak in all of the rest and relaxation at possible.

My Type A self is admittedly freaking out at this moment. But whatevs.

How do you deal with lack of motivation? I feel like when I’m at my lowest, it’s a sign that I am in terrible need of a break….

Girls on the Run

This morning, I sent in an application to be a 5k volunteer for my local Girls on the Run. Mostly because I love running and want to share that with everyone and anyone who will listen.

I’m not going to lie, I’m also in the “prep my resume for applying to residency” part of my education, so volunteering to run seemed like a pretty decent deal.

But then I started filling out their application and answering questions such as “What do you feel you could bring as a volunteer for GOTR?” etc etc.

And my realization hit me like a ton of bricks: I was tremendously lacking in strong female role models while I was growing up and getting the opportunity to hopefully, maybe make even a tiny bit of a difference in a young girl’s life makes my heart swell two sizes too big.

Lacing up for a run is something that I *always* wished my mother would have done for me. Even more importantly, I wish she had been there for me for all of those “milestone” moments for a teenage girl…ones that seem insignificant but leave a lasting impression, like the first marching band competition of the year or the “guess what, I’m engaged?!” phone call. My mother was very unfortunately M.I.A for a large majority of my child hood; all I learned from her was how *not* to be when I decide to have my own family. Thankfully my father was quite possibly the best father I could have asked for and taught me how to grow up and be successful.

Hitting that submit application button brought back all sorts of resentful feelings.

Knowing what I know now about depression and motherhood and being an adult in general, I do believe that my mother did the best she could with what she was able to do. But as a daughter, I have a hard time believing she tried as hard as she could. All I wanted was someone to tell me that my butt wasn’t too big, that I look beautiful without make-up, that no matter what I did it was good enough. And instead I got the exact opposite.

Talk about frustrating.

I could go into a million more details with a million times more ranting but I’ll just leave it at this: I want to volunteer for Girls on the Run because I want to try to make a positive change in a young girl’s life. I don’t yet have children, I can’t yet possibly understand what it is like to have your own daughter, but I want to and hope that I can teach whichever girl that I am paired with that she is worthy, she is awesome, and she can do whatever she sets her mind to do.

And to leave off with something slightly less Debbie Downer-esque:

Under construction

Life has been scary lately.

Not scary as in, “lock the doors and hide the children.” Just, “OMG, I’m on a never-ending roller-coaster ride with an infinite amount of those upside down turn-y thingies.”

Yeah.

I feel like I am constantly bracing myself for what is coming next. Which, is definitely a plus because it means I am truly living. But also slightly anxiety provoking at times. Times are ‘a changin’ because a) I just got a temporary research job (yay! money!), b) I’m moving out of my  current apartment in May because the roommate and landlord drama is more than I can handle, c) I’m looking for a temporary lease for the summer (which is stressful because I am *not* a spur of the moment, short-term kind of gal), and d) I’m thismuch closer to officially going back to school #2 (again, stressful because this is a large decision with potentially large implications).

Some stress that I am feeling derives from me getting this temporary research job. School #1 is renowned for its research, and research is something that I see myself delving into seriously at some point. Getting the job has made me start to worry that school #2 might not be the best for me. But at the same time, all I can envision is myself being back at school #2. So, um…I’m not sure if I am re-thinking my decision because I *know* I have options, if I am re-thinking my decision because I’m scared to change the status quo, or if I am re-thinking my decision because school #1 is where I am meant to be.

I definitely do not love where I am living right now, nor do I love this city, nor have I been pleased with how my program has been going. I definitely do not love how small living here has made me felt, nor do I love how living here has made me slowly regress to old ways. I don’t love the idea of being trapped in a city I hate and being 3 hours away from the boy. But I don’t want to be one of those girls who gave up everything for a relationship. At the same time, I logically know that going back to school #2 does not equal giving up on everything because I will still have a Dr. in front of my name. When I was taking classes at school #2, that was the first time I felt like I did not want to live somewhere else; I knew that exploration and new experiences would always have to be part of my life but I could see myself building a life there. So my choice should be simple, on paper at least, but making decisions like this has never been my forte. /ramble

This is why I spy another tiny grey hair on my head.

I just don’t. know. This week is projected to be the most laid-back week of the semester so hopefully I can use some of my free time to go spinning, yoga-ing, and maybe iron out all of this craziness. I am currently spandex-ed up for a hardcore sweat sesh at my favorite spinning studio and I’m ready to sprint and faux-climb my way out of at least a little anxiety. Thankfully, sweating profusely tends to give me clarity.

Hiding in a coffee shop

When I don’t feel like being at home, I tend to pack my life into my backpack and head on over to the nearest coffee shop, where I usually proceed to drink copious amounts of coffee in the corner table, preferably for hours at a time, like a lame-o. People watching, Facebook checking, and occasionally some hardcore homework-ing tend to occur. This continues until I feel like one more sip of coffee  would drive me crazy. Only then will I go home.

I have not reached that point today. Although I miraculously have only had one medium coffee to drink.

Basically, the boy is tied up in work today, I have tons of schoolwork to get done, and I refuse to spend more time at home than is necessary (awkward living situations, FTW) so I am camped out and currently thinking of various ways to NOT be at home until tonight. So far, I’ve decided to being a coffee shop hog until the boy gets a break, spend 2-3 hours annoying the boy during said break, browse the bookstore and/or TJMaxx, stop at Whole Foods for some “please help me feel like stabby” dinner ideas, and then retreat to my lovely bedroom for some TV catch-up.

Unfortunately, I think my laptop battery has other ideas.