'Self Care' Doesn’t Always Mean Bubble Baths And Scented Candles

'Self Care' Doesn’t Always Mean Bubble Baths And Scented Candles

You can achieve self care in sometimes unconventional ways.

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When you think of "self care," what is the first thing that pops into your head? For most, it's relaxing in a bath with some candles and good tunes. While this is a form of self care, there are multiple different ways you can achieve self care. Even little things we may not acknowledge can be considered self care.

Common ways for self care are cloud watching, star gazing, treating yourself to something nice, and turning off all technology for a while. If you have a strong faith in whatever religion you practice, praying is also a common form of self care. There are even smaller forms of self care, like getting 15 minutes of sun or doing 10 minutes of mindfulness. If you aren't sure of what mindfulness means, you can check out this page for more info.


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I asked my Odyssey group on ways that they achieve self care. My EIC mentioned that her form of self care is scheduling all of her responsibilities for the week and allowing herself one day (or at least one morning or night each week) to do absolutely nothing so she can recharge herself. Another thing she mentioned was positive affirmations. If you aren't aware, positive affirmations is the practice of positive thinking and self-empowerment. They're simple to do: pick some positive affirmations from this list or create your own and say them to yourself every day. You'd be surprised at the difference it can make for some people!

I also asked a few friends in college how they take care of themselves. One friend said that she goes running to take some stress of and tries to get enough sleep. Another friend said that she creates vision boards to help her creativity and motivation. One friend said she loves to practice yoga and deep breathing. My long time friend uses video games to self care and also will go to Waffle House often as a form of self care. My childhood friend said she loves to paint while listening to her favorite music to calm herself and take care of herself.

I also asked a friend how she achieves self care and gave me a detailed list. On days she can't find motivation to do much of anything, she'll go through her phone and delete old photos so she can at least feel like she's being productive. She also likes to watch documentaries because she can learn new information while also relaxing. She sometimes likes to go through old clothes and get rid of them and listens to new music she doesn't know the words to yet. The thing she does that I love the most is she will go on walks outdoors and pick out 5 things around her for each of her 5 senses. Lastly, she will look at herself in the mirror and pick 5 things she likes about herself, which she has said has greatly improved her self confidence.

Personally, my favorite form of self care is to create a small fortress of pillows in my bed, make some hot tea and watch The Office. Other than that, I like to achieve self care through reading or writing (probably expected considering I'm an English major). In the past, I've even gone and deleted negative people off of my social media accounts and trust me when I say that it was the best experience. Any stress I had prior is virtually gone and I'm ready to get back up and tackle the day. I also asked my boyfriend how he achieves self care. He likes to go on late night drives with the windows down and good music playing to destress and feel better after a hard day. My boyfriend's older sister said she loves to take a hot shower or bath and use her essential oils to achieve self care.

As you can see from all of the people I asked, there are so many ways you can do self care. Some may seem more obvious, but regardless of that, there are infinite ways. Hopefully some ideas here may help you, my kind reader, in your future endevors. What are some ways you've currently been doing for self care?

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Photo by Karla Alexander on Unsplash

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26.2 Signs You're A Distance Runner

You know you're a distance runner when...
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If you're a distance runner, chances are it's become a way of life for you. You've become less afraid of feet, get excited over finding new running routes, have to do laundry 3x more than normal, and you've been permantently marked with the word crazy on your forehead. You know you're a distance runner when...

1. You're always hungry

2. You know exactly what the distance is around your neighborhood - even if you were to take a different route

3. You know your resting heart rate, maximum heart rate, and exactly what your heart rate is at all parts of your run

4. You pack more running clothes than regular clothes when going on vacation

5. And then you spend more time planning out running routes and potential races than looking up other things to do while on vacation

6. You have at least one drawer dedicated to just running clothes

7. And probably a whole cabinet dedicated to running gear and fuel

8. You have a line in your budget for “race entry fees/race travel"

9. Your friends know that if they call or text your after 9 PM, they won't get an answer until morning

10. They also know not to question your inability to go out if you have a long run in the morning

11. You check the weather probably more than meteorologists, especially the week leading up to a big race

12. You use the words “8 miles” and “Easy” in the same sentence

13. You no longer hate porta pottys. In fact, there have been times when you’ve been very happy to see one

14. You have a routine of preparation the night before a long run or race

15. You don’t blink an eye at $100 for running shoes, but you have to think about $100 for any other shoes

16. Kinesio Tape is frequently all over your body

17. You’ve woken up at 5 AM or earlier to beat the heat and humidity in the summer

18. Your holiday wish list can be fulfilled at any running or sporting goods store

19. Your laundry basket is 90% active gear 10% everything else

20. There's something to be said about the excitement when you finish running a distance you've never reached before

21. You know every runner in your community

22. You hear a song that used to be on your running playlist and immediately flashback to a time it motivated you on a run

23. You're more upset that an injury prevents you from running rather than what it does to your body

24. You don't mind running in the rain

25. Running has become a family affair

26. Getting a new PR is more exciting than your birthday

26.2. When someone tells you that running a marathon is crazy, you’re just kind of like, well, yeah, that’s the point.

Cover Image Credit: Stocksnap.io

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Please Know That Being Diagnosed With PCOS Is Not The Same As Living With It

I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2018, but it wasn't until months later that I realized what it’s actually like living with it everyday.

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In October 2017, tired of counting calories and never seeing the scale move, I decided to try the latest fad diet: Keto.

It worked.

I lost almost 40 pounds in half the time it had taken to lose 20. I had lost nearly 10 inches from waist and hips. I went from a size 18 to a size 12.

Getting into ketosis was hard, but once I was there, I felt incredible: better mental clarity and focus, astronomical amounts of energy, regular body functions. Don't get me wrong, this diet is hard. No carbs, no colorful vegetables, no pasta. The struggle was real. But what it was doing for my body was worth it.

Except for one little thing: my periods had lost their minds. I'm talking bleeding for three weeks straight, no break. Coming and going in particular pattern, sometimes twice a month. Side note: this is not normal. In the world of Keto, it's supposed to help exponentially with fertility and hormone balances; people use this diet as a way to reverse hormone imbalances, PCOS, and infertility. This was virtually unheard of in all of my support groups.

Months and months go by with no relief. My doctor can't figure out why everything is so wonky. She takes me off the pill and things get better - slightly. Any improvement at this point was a victory.

She finally gets my ultrasounds back and she says "Well that's a surprise!" Cue my questioning look of confusion. "Umm care to share?" "Your ovaries have the characteristic look of PCOS. But you don't have any of the usual symptoms. I'm guessing the Keto diet was helping in it's own way. I recommend staying on the diet, let nature re-regulate your natural hormones, and we will re-evaluate in a few months."

I was frustrated, but this was totally do-able. I had been living this lifestyle for months, so I didn't foresee it as an issue. But then my kidneys starting reacting to the diet, and that doctor recommended I come off it. Obviously I wasn't going to jeopardize my health, so I started a low carb version of the Mediterranean diet.

I went in fully expecting to gain some weight back, because I was reintroducing carbs when I had gone largely without them for over a year. I knew that this would happen, and I didn't let myself get discouraged when the scale started going forward.

What I did not expect was to have my PCOS start running lose with my entire life and sanity.

Don't get me wrong — my periods were normal again, but everything else went AWOL. My hormones were going up and down of their own volition, we are talking sobbing hysterically over a butterfly commercial one minute and then fuming with anger over a car ad the next.

I started experiencing pelvic pain that feels like cramps only not all the time and without rhyme or reason.

My hair became uncontrollably oily to the point where I had to wash it everyday like clockwork; it started to thin and fall out.

I also started getting darker hair everywhere. I'm naturally an incredibly fair-skinned person so having black hair anywhere stands out like a sore thumb.

I felt like I wasn't in control of anything going on with my body. I felt like a hairy, unattractive monster. Everything that made me feel attractive and desirable was slowly being taken away from me piece by piece.

I had been living with PCOS for nearly six months, but I hadn't realized what it was like to actually live with it. I thought it was just irregular periods, but it is so much more than just a weird period.

I went back to the doctor, and she explained to me again how PCOS works, and how she didn't think traditional treatment options were the best thing for me. "Go back on the Keto diet. You were having incredible success with managing your symptoms. Go back to that."

Going back has not been easy. When I first started Keto, it wasn't easy, but I got into it quickly. I've been trying since January 12th to get back into it, and it hasn't worked.

I'm now in a place where I need to do it — for my health, for my sanity, for my self-esteem — and I physically can't. I do exactly everything the same as before, and it's not working. I'm trying to move away from the mentality of doing it for weight loss, and move toward positive thinking about how it's what's best for my body and my health.

My PCOS has forced me to have militant control over everything I eat. I can't simply enjoy food anymore. Everything that I chose to eat directly relates back to my PCOS and what that particular food can do for me. I think about everything that I put into my body, and the potential it has for either healing my body or harming it.

I see a piece of cake and I smell it, and picture in my mind what it tastes like. But I know that if I eat that piece of cake, I will bloat, get a stomach ache, and have to start back from square one the next day.

I cut out the carbs. I say no to cake. No potatoes. No pasta. I eat only green vegetables. I drink coffee that has nothing but heavy cream. I try to do intermittent fasting for 15 hours a day.

And I hope that it works. I hope that today will be the day I can get my life back on track. That today will be the day Keto works its magic.

I hope.

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