Sunday, July 28, 2013

Self-care strategy #2 -- do more yoga

Obviously! Since this is supposed to be a yoga blog!!

However, even though I started out as an Ashtangi, lately I haven't been able to get into primary series flow at all. I can't even get through the sun salutations without feeling agitated. Therefore I've switched to free-form vinyasa to get me back into yoga practicing mood.

Today I tried one of Tiffany Cruikshank's class, where she included a one minute arm balance hold. I chose handstand against the wall... I was sooooo ready to come back down half way through if she didn't keep saying "Just one more breath! You are almost there!" It was nice. I needed someone to tell me I can get through hardship. I'm kind of lacking that support in my work and my relationships. It's sad I can't just motivate myself. Seems like an external motivational source is necessary to get me to stay committed and motivated. On the positive side, there are plenty of external motivation sources available for relatively reasonable costs. I should tap into those to keep me going.

Still continuing the theme of "Yoga for Strength"... very low emphasis on flexibility and major focus on strengthening the legs, shoulder girdles, back, ankles, arms, and core.  Well, I lie. I am always working on backbends because I love them. However the emphasis is still on strengthening the back so I can do slow motion controlled drop back instead of dumping into my lower back and crash landing on my hands. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Self-care strategy #1 - Eat better food

In Scandinavia food is quite expensive. I am not used to pay that much for food so I had been buying the cheapest stuff - cheap meat, cheap vegetables, frozen food.

To be honest, they don't taste very good.

I think eating not so tasty food that are still not cheap has been contributing to my depression. Therefore, I have decided to splurge on food, paying for better quality things, and ignoring the price. It's tough for me since I am Ms. SuperStingy. I am making baby-steps by buying items that I normally don't get since they are on the pricier side, such as olive oil, sesame oil, and prosciutto. I had been trying to go vegetarian, but it's not really working, since the veggies here really aren't that fresh. Instead, I do eat meat, but try to eat healthy, with the intention of boosting my mood.

I've also been experimenting with all kinds of recipes. My go-to cooking had been pasta, stir-fries and curries (stir-fry veggies + packaged curries) and they are getting boring. I need to expand my cooking repertoire and eat more varieties of cuisine. It's tough because my social circle consists of people whose food staples consist of well-done pieces of meat, potato flour gnocchi + carrots and cucumber, potato pancakes, and cream-based cooking with lots of cheese + bread. While I do love potatoes I would like to minimize cream-based cooking. I have the kitchen to myself for 2 weeks and I'll see what I can come up with!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Self care

I've been meaning to blog many times but always gave up half way through my writing. It depended on my mood at the time. Sometimes I wanted to write to complain, other times to report a great day, a feeling of gratefulness, or frustrations. Alas, technology has erased my writings a few times and other times sleepiness just took over.

I had the fortune of going on two vacations over the last month. One was a fancy schmancy cruise trip around the Mediterranean, and another was to be a laid-back beach bum at one of the most pristine sea water I've ever experienced. How lucky is that! I never dreamed of doing this type of trips when I signed up to move to Europe.

Now that I am back to work, I am again back in a slump, not re-charged and dreading what I do. I am back to hanging out with roommate who predictably complains about everything under the sun, from the weather to her boss, her parents, her country, her love life, ie. every aspect of life. At first I complain about her to everyone else, but now I realize, I am just like her. Every day, there are good moments and bad moments, and I seem to pay more attention to the bad ones. I drain my own energy.

I don't want my energy to be so drastically affected by every small mood change (candy - yay! unmotivated at work - boooooo). I think to drown out these effects I've been playing really boring iPhone games like solitare, which gives me micro-control of my state -- every time I win a game I get a small dopamine boost, but overall the petty games are pretty boring and huge time wasters. I really need to do something drastic to take major control of my state, so I've decided to focus my attention on hardcore self-care rather than on roommate complaints. Complaining seems to drive people away from me and does not make me feel better either.

I don't have super concrete plans yet but I think deciding to focus my attention on self-care might bring some changes to my life and state of mind. It's time to take my life back in control rather than being feeling like a tumble weed with roller-coaster like mood swings. Stay tuned for my results.