One of the coolest things about having this blog has been its ability to grow with me. As I’ve changed, it too has changed. I love that I have a record of what I was experiencing and the way I was feeling up until a couple of years ago, because honestly, if I were to go off my own recollection (now) of those days, I don’t think it would be a very accurate depiction. I think I would downplay it, because in many ways, it doesn’t even feel like it was my own life. I’ve actually found that I’m able to tell it more accurately when I tell it as a story, as if it were about someone else!
This year has been full of transitions and changes. I know that’s kind of what everyone says after graduating from college, so I’m not THAT special…but adding in getting married does give me a leg up over the competition, in my (not-so-humble) opinion 😉 With all that’s been going on, I’ve had to really hone-in on some self care to stay sane! Here are some things I’ve been intentionally focusing on, that help me to feel my best:
If you don’t want to read my self-care tips, skip past the bullet points for an important announcement regarding this website.
- Staying hydrated. People SO underestimate the importance and power of drinking water. I don’t track my water intake, but I pretty much always have my hydroflask on me, regardless of where I am, or what my activity level has been that day. I’d guess I’m probably sipping on around 80-100 oz a day, give or take.
- Limiting caffeine. Towards the end of the school year, I was becoming very caffeine dependent. I’m talking 6 cups of coffee minimum or else I’d get a headache, and I didn’t stop drinking it anywhere near as early in the day as I should have. My sleep suffered, and while during that time I felt it necessary in order to get the million things I needed to done, I’ve really reeled myself back, for the better. I limit myself to two cups of coffee a day now, and as a rule of thumb, I’m pretty much not drinking it past 11 a.m. (that goes for all caffeine — tea included).
- Drinking herbal tea. This tea has become a staple of mine over the last year. Ginger and turmeric are both known around wellness communities for their healing properties, and with the addition of the orange peel, it makes for a nice, refreshing drink, at any time of day! Personally, I also struggle with a lot of inflammation in my body (which is something I’ll address in another post), as well as from poor blood circulation due to low blood pressure. Drinking a warm beverage, like tea, is something that I’ve really noticed to help my blood flow. It’s especially helpful during these colder months, because my blood vessels have a tendency to restrict during any drop in temperature due to Raynaud’s.
- Healthy sleep habits. 8 hours is a bit unrealistic for a lot of people, and I get that — during some seasons of life, it is seemingly impossible to allow for eight hours of sleep…there are so many more “productive” things you could be doing during that time! I know you’ve probably heard it before (that sleep should be a priority), so I’ll avoid sounding like a broken record — partly, because I’ve been there, and understand that sometimes, it’s just less of a priority than it maybe should be, and that’s the way it is. But I will say that something I’ve learned, is that quality of sleep is significantly more important to my functioning than quantity of sleep. Everyone’s body is different, but for me, if I can get around 6 hours of good, quality sleep, I am able to function just fine. The things that will give each person a good night’s sleep vary person to person, but I’ll give you some ideas of mine.
- No phone about an hour before I go to bed
- No eating at least an hour before I go to bed
- Drinking a cup of tea (my favorite is Sleepytime), but I also love Peppermint and Chamomile in the evening
- Being in a dark, cool room
- Spending time in God’s word. I hate that it’s often the first thing to go when time gets crunched, but when I intentionally carve time out in my day (more than just church on Sundays!) for Jesus, I am always glad that I did.
- Listening to my body. This is by far the hardest one for me. Not only hearing what my body is saying, but acting accordingly to best support it, in regard to injury, taking rest days, stress levels, etc.
- Staying on top of my diet. I’m not going to get into specifics regarding my diet or beliefs on what a healthy one is right now, but the biggest thing is eating what makes me feel good. Along with this, is eating about every four hours. I’ve re-learned, especially during more stressful times, that I’m very good at fasting. The “skill” that carried me through my eating disorder years is still around today, and I have to be intentional about not doing it, because it does catch up to me, and not for the better! I’ve also begun to be more intentional about consuming red meat since I had blood work come back showing pretty low ferritin levels, and added in a daily iron supplement. In addition, I have a scoop of Vital Proteins almost every morning. I just stir it into my coffee, but you can put it in anything, including food. They make a lot of different collagen products, but I just use the unflavored peptides. I find them to be the most versatile and also like that they have no sugar. ALSO, as a major plus, Costco carries a giant tub of the unflavored peptides now 🙂
- Taking care of my skin. If I had to name one of the hardest things that came as a result of gaining (and maintaining) the healthy weight that I’ve put on in recovery, dealing with the changes in my skin would at the very top of that list. It’s been an ongoing struggle for me to find a regimen that will keep my skin as calm as possible, especially because it’s largely hormonal acne (which I blogged about in this post — one of my most visited posts to date). I’ve had the most success by being consistent with washing my face every morning and evening, moisturizing once a day, and exfoliating every couple of days. As an aside, eliminating dairy and intentionally reducing sugar intake are proven to help with complexion (and I have noticed this with my own skin, as well).
- My favorite products are:
- Being on my phone less. I deleted my social media apps towards the end of the summer, and WOW, has it been a breath of fresh air! I’m not going to lie, the first week or so felt a little weird… I have three minutes while I’m waiting for so and so, let me pull up Instagram — Oh, wait. I can’t. Or, missing the constantly updating statuses of friends, news crews, sports teams, etc. that I would frequently refresh on Twitter. Pretty quickly though, that became my new normal. I can fully say, now, that I do not (at all) miss that constant inundation of media, 99% of which were through filters that made the reality inaccurate anyway. My phone now is pretty much used for the basics. I text, call, and listen to Spotify. I did re-instate Snapchat a little while ago, but I don’t have my notifications on. The new iOS update that lets you track your screen time? It’s awesome. I may or may not give myself a little pat on the back every week that my average daily screen time is less than it was the week before…
Okay…now that I’ve covered those, here’s a snippet of a life update! I’m just going to highlight the most important things, or else this post would go on forever…
Cody and I get married SEVENTY days from today! YAHOOOO! I’m one of those weird brides that isn’t really stressed about anything re: “The Big Day.” Our wedding could happen tomorrow and I feel like we could pull it together! At the end of the day, I’m getting to marry my best friend, and our friends and family are going to be there…and that’s all that I really care about :’)
I officially finished my college classes (the three online ones I had to take over the summer), have graduated from Oregon State with a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology, and am a full-time, working woman! BUT, there was a slight (kind of bigger than slight) change in plans. My first full-time job immediately post-graduation was as a caregiver in a memory care unit at an assisted living facility. After two weeks (!!), I put in my two weeks! I’ll probably get around to writing more about this in another post sometime down the line, because I feel like I learned a HUGE lesson here…but to sum it up, the job wasn’t healthy for me, and my health (mental, physical, and emotional) was suffering. It was really hard for me to make the decision to quit, because I didn’t want to be a quitter! However, after significant suggesting by those who are closest to me, I told my employer that I would be leaving, before I had another job lined up. For me, it felt like a huge step of faith, even though I didn’t have too much on the line (I was making just a little over minimum wage, and living at home with free room and board). I started applying to jobs that just sounded fun, realizing that virtually nothing would be a downgrade from what I was already doing. I took a job with a gym, and am now working with their personal training department and LOVING it. I laugh multiple times a day, I’m working with people who are like-minded, and I enjoy what I’m doing. For me right now, that’s a slam dunk.
Going off of that, as well as what I wrote at the start of this post: I will no longer be blogging at this web address (Bridgette and Goliath). I’m having so much fun working in the fitness industry, now have a degree in Kinesiology, the personal experience of 7 years of treatment for an eating disorder and recovery from exercise addiction, and a solid background on nutrition. SO, with that being said: I am actively pursuing the possibility of working as a wellness coach/personal trainer, encompassing both fitness and nutrition. It’s been very rewarding for me to be able to educate, encourage, and inspire (by sharing my own story) others wanting to pursue a healthier lifestyle while at the gym. I’m continually astounded by the lack of information, as well as the amount of misinformation many individuals have regarding what a healthy diet, and a maintainable fitness routine is. This isn’t even technically what my job at the gym is (I’m working with the management/sales side), but already I’ve been able to do just that with clients just through conversation, and it really has been impactful for them. As an example, last night, I had an appointment with a young woman who is 20 years old and 338 pounds. It was our second time meeting. We sat and talked for a good while, me sharing my own story, followed by her opening up and sharing her own. I then took her out onto the training floor, ran her through a workout (it was very modified, to meet her fitness level), and then we came back to my desk and sat down and talked again. I had already taken all of her measurements, including body fat percentage, BMI, and vital signs during and after the workout. I was very honest with her, in a gentle way, about the reality of her health, and the grave danger she was in if she didn’t make a serious change in the way she was living, both nutritionally, and exercise (she needs to lose at least 100 pounds to get at least close to a healthy BMI), relating it again to my own previous struggles. While on opposite ends of the spectrum, they were still relatable. She cried, and agreed to sign up for personal training, with the understanding that we would be there for her every step of the way along this journey. I learned that her family would not be supporting her financially in this investment, and that they were all obese as well. She was choosing to do this for herself, and herself alone, and she knew she’d need support. By this time, we had spent easily over two hours together. After signing the last signature on the training contract, she looked at me and said, with tears in her eyes, “I need to give you a hug. This is going to change my life.”
That’s just one of the meaningful experiences I’ve had with clients in the brief stint of time I’ve been in this role, but already, it’s fulfilling me in ways that are hard to explain. While I’m not closing the door to nursing (at all), this is the direction that I’m feeling most passionate toward right now, hence leading me to pursue coaching and training independently. However, I’m pursuing this while also working full-time and preparing to get married, so the process will likely develop slowly! Once I have my new website up and running, I will post a link to it here. I’m not sure what I’m doing with Instagram just yet…I know it’s a great way to attract business, but I also am loving my time away from social media! So, that is to be determined.
Those are the highlights, in a nutshell! There are SO many other things I could share (per usual), but I’ll refrain, at least for now 😉 It’s crazy to me that I’m moving on from Bridgette and Goliath. I really, truly, cannot believe that I don’t feel that the “recovering” identity is part of me anymore. I am so grateful for all that this platform has given me, and I’m equally as excited for what is to come. As always, all praise be to Jesus for the healing He has done in me, and the ongoing restoration that I know is to come.
Some photos from the last three months…