Life Update: 3 Steps to Combating Despair

Hey friends! It has been a long time since I’ve last written for my website. A lot has happened in my life since then. One thing is certain and that is, I have continued to learn more about how I function through “trial and error.” I’ll start off with where I am with my education.

  1. Education: A Change in Paths
  2. What about my health?
    1. Spiritual Health: Adoration and Nature
  3. 3 Steps to Combating Despair
  4. How have I been doing nutritionally?
  5. My Mindset Shift: Develop and Maintain
    1. The Day It Changed
    2. HIIT Workouts and Nature Walks
    3. Don’t Trust Your Feelings

Education: A Change in Paths

I have completed my first year of grad school and still have a little over a year left before I can graduate with my Masters in Theology. I came here believing that I wanted to push for my doctoral degree in Theology immediately following my Masters.

Well, at the end of the academic year (2020-2021), I came to realize that the doctoral route is no longer in sight as of now. Emphasis on “as of now” because it may part of the future if the future even exists for me. God willing, but we all know how quickly life can change!

Chapel near by

What About My Health?

Spiritual Health: Adoration and Nature

Right now, what I’ve been enjoying most is going on nature walks/hikes with a friend, or by myself. There is something about it that is rejuvenating especially after Eucharistic Adoration. What is Eucharistic Adoration?

St. Therese Pray for Us (6/13/2021)

As Catholics we believe that God is fully present (body, blood, soul, and divinity) in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is kept in a tabernacle in a Church or chapel. Sometimes the chapels are open for any one who would like to spend time with our Lord present in the Eucharist. In the 4 minute video below, Fr. John Bartunek explains it a little further.

When leaving adoration, there is a quietness…stillness of spirit, mind, and heart that beckons to be prolonged.

When leaving adoration, there is a quietness, or rather, a stillness of spirit, mind, and heart that beckons to be prolonged. For me, being in nature immediately following my prayer time presents my mind, body, and spirit with the opportunity to extend that stillness; to prolong the prayer that my heart is already engaged in.

This past weekend (6/13/21).
It was humid but amazing!

3 Steps to Combating Despair

With that being said, let me just say that, like everyone else, I have days where I do not feel on top of the world. In the past, I would isolate myself from everyone and dwell on my problem. This would often lead me into a time of despair which would usually last 3 days or so. Recognizing my pattern, I realized that in order to fight the urge of wanting to isolate, I needed to actively do something to combat that tendency. Therefore, this past month and a half, I’ve been pushing myself to develop the habits of:

  1. Running to adoration and staying as long as I need to
  2. At least 20 minutes of some form of exercise
  3. Spend time with people who will tell me the truth/or who I can help

The order of these things change depending on what my day looks like. It was VERY difficult at first, and it still is, especially since I am accustomed to isolating myself from the world when things get rough. The biggest piece of advice I would receive often from my family members growing up was:

“Run to God and then go and do something for someone else. “

At the ending of last week (6/12/21) I was having a hard time. I had planned to spend all of Saturday alone. Part of it was that I actually needed to spend time alone in order to recharge. I am currently working as a Registration Assistant for conferences happening at my university, which requires one to be slightly upbeat and accommodating.

Name tag 😉

The other part had to do with some personal things I had been wrestling with. The funny (not so funny) thing is, I had forgotten about a get together I was supposed to attend in the evening with some friends. I smiled to myself and thought, “I guess I’m not supposed to be by myself all day today.” I did, however, spend the morning and part of my afternoon doing things by myself, which was very needed.

Greek Eggs Benedict and Potatoes!

The first thing I did on Saturday was pray super hard that I do not fall into the trap of internally isolating myself. Then I went for a drive and listened to some talks on YouTube. Next, I had breakfast and journaled. After breakfast, I ran my errands and then headed back home. Once I got home, I went for a 30 minute walk/jog.

From there I went to the grocery store to get ingredients to make a dip for a party/get together. Then, I got ready for the party, met up with my friends, and then we carpooled to our destination. When we got back, I went to the chapel for adoration and stayed there as long as I needed to be there.

Outside the chapel on campus at the beginning of the Spring season

How I Have Been Doing Nutritionally?

I am going to be 100% honest with ya’ll. Before this past month, I was all over the map with nutrition. I was not consistent since the last time I have posted, and that is mortifying to say and admit. If I were to give you an estimate, I would say that I ate healthy about 75-78% of the time since the last time I’ve posted. I am happy to say that I am back on track, but I am more forgiving of myself and have come to a more balanced view of what being healthy is, than I have ever been in the past.

If I were to mess up or “fall off the wagon” my confidence would take a hit, and I would try to fast longer the next day, or put my body through a ridiculous exercise routine. These patterns and mindsets are more detrimental than helpful. This mindset that I had was brought to light by one of my friends…

My Mindset Shift: Develop and Maintain

The Day it Changed

Around mid April of this year (2021), a friend of mine who shares my passion for the health and wellness of the entire human being (body, mind, and spirit), called me out during one of our conversations. I told her that I really wanted to get fit so that I could be a better example to people, and that I had been struggling to “get the extra fat off my body.” Her response was:

“That’s a negative way of looking at yourself. You know that right?”

She proceeded to share about a time in her life when she decided to pull her thoughts and energy away from the mindset of, “I need to lose weight,” to directing them towards developing and maintaining healthy habits. She said that when her focus shifted to a more positive mindset; when she stopped thinking about losing weight and started living out a healthy life, the weight loss naturally followed. I think it is fair to say that a healthy life ACTUALLY begins with the transformation/renewal of our minds.

On the property of a monastery near by ❤

Unfortunately, finals week was waiting impatiently for us around the corner, so I am sad to say that I did not step into this mindset fully until after the fact. Actually, for one whole week (maybe a little longer) I was going to bed at 4 a.m. almost every night and eating dinner at midnight. Needless to say, I felt like an unhealthy zombie (if there is such a thing) by the time finals week came to an end! 🙂

HIIT Workouts and Nature Walks

This past month, I have gotten back in the swing of things. I have unintentionally been incorporating intermittent fasting. I stop eating at 9 pm (or earlier, depending on when I have dinner) and break fast at 1 pm in the afternoon the next day. I’ve been doing my version of HIIT workouts every other day, and going for leisurely nature walks on “off days.” As of now, most of my workouts are not a dread. I don’t actually consider them to be workouts because I feel so good afterwards. I am enjoying it simply because being in nature has that inexplicable power to refresh you!

Cemetery Walks

Don’t Trust Your Feelings

Today, however, was the first day, since I started becoming more physically active again, that I did not feel like getting out of bed to go for my walk/jog. By the grace of God, I got up, did my thing, and then went back to my room to get ready for work. Although, feelings and emotions are valid and can be beneficial in some cases, it’s probably best for me to develop the habit of doing what is right or what needs to be done despite how I feel.

That’s it for this week folks. See ya next week!

3 Thoughts

  1. Hey, a couple thoughts you are amazing at interpreting feelings, I came from a family where you should always look nice not over weight make up, heels, Uugh!!! I will say health and spiritual life is connected, but at the end of the day it’s an internal journey. You were made and created in the image and likeliness of God, my advice enjoy food to its fullest you can still enjoy food healthily, don’t let food define you unless it distracts from God then you need to pray why? You will get there because your search is on and God sees the struggles and blesses us within our journeys💙🙏 love you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Renee! I appreciate the encouragement and you sharing your experience! It is encouraging. You are 100% right. We are made in the image and likeness of God. It took me a while to realize that food is not something to be “fought against.” It doesn’t make any logical sense to personify food either by saying, “food is not the enemy.” because is a good thing; it is a gift. You are very right again! If it (or anything really) distracts from God, then it simply adds to the struggle, which God can, amazingly enough, transform into something good if only we persevere. I love you too Renee. Thank you again for sharing your wisdom ❤

      Like

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