Some Problems with Self-Care

I think we forget that self-care is a privilege. A mentor at school (shout out to the wonderful staff at Emory’s Office of Health Promotion!) brought up this idea and it has really stuck with me. So what does it mean to call self-care a privilege? It is a privilege for many reasons. The common idea of self-care includes a pint of ice cream, dark chocolate, bubble baths, Netflix binges, and taking “time off.” But what if you can’t take time off? What if you can’t…

  1. afford Netflix
  2. hire a babysitter
  3. take a night off work
  4. escape the anxiety of financial strain, stigma, or struggle

This make self-care a privilege, and it is a privilege we tend to flaunt without a second thought. I know I am guilty of this….

#pintparty anyone?

While “self-care is not selfish” is one of my favorite mantras, a more accessible concept, in my opinion, is self-compassion. Self-compassion, as conceptualized by Dr. Kristin Neff, is treating yourself as you would treat a good friend–with kindness, sympathy, and forgiveness. Everyone is capable and has the resources to practice self-compassion.

While I have taken self-care for granted, I will begin to think more deeply about how I encourage self-care practices. I am so grateful that I have the means to indulge in a whole pint of ice cream, take a night off, or take a special, highly priced yoga class to relax every once in a while.

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Sometimes I struggle to practice self-care because I am the more anxious type and struggle to turn my mind off. I have found that this blog is a source of self-care for me; it has a tangible product of posts that go up, but it gives me an outlet for my (endless) thoughts and creativity.

 

 

Once again, having a blog requires the time (and money if you want a independently hosted site), which requires a certain level of privilege. While self-care has its use and its place, self-compassion is a concept and practice that I feel more confident in promoting.

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Have you ever thought of self care as a privilege in this way? Do you struggle with self-care?

Ted Talk Friday: The Power of Vulnerability

Brené Brown is one of my personal heroes. She bridges the gap between research and the human experience so beautifully and clearly; I have read a few of her books and her talks are relatable and inspiring. She is so intelligent and down to earth–and the advice she gives is studded with humor. I hope you enjoy her talk.

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Do you agree? Do you think about living authentically?

The Life Project: a book review

I haven’t done any book reviews on my blog so far, which seems incredibly silly given my love of reading! I just finished a wonderful book called The Life Project by Helen  Pearson. I received the book as a gift from mentors who know me very well; they certainly did their research and knew exactly what to pick! The book was published in 2016 and follows the rise of longitudinal studies in the U.K. (and more broadly). I have always been interested in longitudinal research, with a particular emphasis on early childhood experiences and how those experiences shape wellbeing across the lifespan so this book was like catnip for me.


While it is non-fiction, it is written in an engaging, novel-like way that reminds me or Erik Larson (author of Devil in the White City) or Alison Weir. Pearson is clear and concise, weaving together the tales of the numerous cohort studies in the U.K. through the 20th century and into modern times. It quickly becomes clear how much has changed over the decades–from birthing habits to women in the workplace. At the same time, Pearson presents the ominous conclusion that there are many areas that are not improving.

On a lighter note, the book beautifully captures the personalities and politics that impact policy, study design, funding,  and outcomes. I am fascinated by policy and the limited use of evidence in how we determine policy at a national and local level. The studies in the U.K. set an important example of how these studies can help us measure real-world outcomes of such theory-based changes.

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for some intellectual, enjoyable, and health-focused reading!

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Did you know the U.K. was a major leader in longitudinal cohort.      studies?

Ted Talk Friday: How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime

This Ted Talk changed my life. No, I am not exaggerating! This lecture is relevant and so deeply important to all of us. Dr. Harris integrates all of the pieces of childhood trauma to paint a clear picture of its impact and creates a call to arms for all of us. It is easy to downplay theories about how negative experiences during childhood might impact us, but numbers do not lie. I hope you enjoy this talk!

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Have you heard of ACES before this video? What do you think?

Fresh Amore Yogurt Parmesan Baked Chicken 

What happens when you have random ingredients you need to use? I know I always get creative and come up with a new recipe. As you might guess, we had tons of yogurt in the fridge and a bag of crumbs from our Costco-supported Cello Wisp addiction (Cello Wisps are basically crackers made only of Parmesan cheese–high in protein and calcium, low in carbs!). With these ingredients, I came up with this idea for baked chicken bites. I hope you enjoy them!

1) Set oven to 375.

2) In a medium size glass container combine:

1c plain yogurt

1/2 lemon, squeezed

1tsp Amore garlic paste


3) Chop 2 chicken breasts into approximately 1.5×1.5in cubes.

4) Add the cubes into the glass container, cover and place in refrigerator.

5) Now, crush Parmesan cheese cello wisps until you have 2.5-3c worth of crumbs (feel free to sub in some Panko bread crumbs). Add 2 tsp Italian seasoning and stir until well combined.

6) Pour crumb mixture onto a large plate.


7) Take out chicken cubes and dip and roll (sounds like a dance move, right?) each piece in crumb mixture until fully coated. I used a big spoon and fork to do this!

8) Place dipped cubes onto foil lined, lightly oiled cookie sheet.

9) Bake at 375 for 18 min or until chicken is cooked through.


Enjoy! We had our chicken bites alongside roasted asparagus and spaghetti squash with marinara sauce.

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What’s your favorite way to use leftovers?

Ted Talk Friday: “Locker room talk.” Says who?

This Ted Talk always sticks with me; Alexis Jones is so down to Earth and does a great job expressing the message of what we have wrong with our idea of being “manly.” I think this talk is something that every male athlete, and really every person who might engage in subtle–or not so subtle–sexism, needs to watch. Her inspirational delivery is empowering and the sixteen minute talk flies by. I hope you enjoy!

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What do you think of the talk?

Breakfast for Dinner Days (+product review)

Summer at my house means late dinners and lazy evenings, but when my nephew comes to town we have to make sure to eat a bit earlier (aka before his bedtime). I would argue this is healthier, but it means we have to throw dinner together a little faster sometimes! Luckily, we thought of breakfast for dinner. This is a fun, special treat and how can you go wrong with sweet pancakes and savory eggs?

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I love developing new pancake recipes, but now was not the time for a pancake distasteful so we opted to try a new pancake mix I just received from Phoros Nutrition (it’s sold on Amazon).

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The mix contains just a few ingredients and you only need water and eggs. I love how much the batter rises–just a glimpse into how fluffy the pancakes are!

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The batter was absolutely delicious, and it wasn’t too sweet like so many pancake mixes out there. There was a slight banana taste that we all loved! We added just a small six-year-old handful of mini chocolate chips to our pancakes too…

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The pancakes cooked up quickly on our griddle set to medium heat (about 350 degrees). They were done just in time for us to enjoy them alongside some scrambled eggs with veggies.

We all enjoyed our pancakes topped with our preferred toppings…Nature’s Hollow Sugar-Free Maple Syrup, Betsy’s Best Almond Butter, and chocolate fudge syrup! The pancakes tasted perfectly thick and fluffy with a slight hint of banana flavor. They were a hit with everyone! I will definitely have to order another bag of mix!

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Disclaimer: I was provided a free bag of Phoros Nutrition Protein Pancake Mix to review, however this post represents my honest thoughts and opinions. 

Ted Talk Fridays: Living without shame

After seeing the show Mortified live in San Francisco, I started thinking more about shame and its power in our lives. If you haven’t heard of Mortified, it is basically a traveling show where adults share embarrassing teen journal entries on stage; it is a comedy show, but full of openness, empathy, and vulnerability. When we let shame go unaddressed, we often let it take over and box us into our fears, and I think this Ted Talk does a great job of addressing the shame that comes with weight and body image, especially for women in the US. “Living without shame: How we can empower ourselves” really shows how facing our fears head on takes so much of the shameful feelings out of shame. I hope you enjoy this talk!

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What do you think of shame? Do you think talking about shame in the open is helpful?

Travel+Eats+Emotions in Northern California 

My mom and I booked a last minute trip to visit San Mateo after learning this will be my new home! After leaving the house at 4AM Tuesday morning, we arrived in San Francisco exhausted, but ready to explore.

 

We took it easy and explored the area and looked at a few potential housing options before grabbing a late dinner in downtown San Mateo at Hummus. I thought it was just okay–nothing too special!

The next day just so happened to be my birthday, and yes I am feeling 22! So we went to Half Moon Bay, enjoyed artisan tea at the cutest coffee shop, went thrifting, and finally stopped at an adorable produce stand on the side of the road.

We also stopped at this great restaurant called Tres Amigos! I got the grilled chicken salad–I loved the addition of jicama and orange slices!

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Doesn’t this look so fresh?

That night we drove to Mountain View and met up with a dear friend who works at Google. He gave us a tour of the incredible campus–from snack bars to arcade rooms! After the tour, we grabbed a delicious dinner together.

A plate of goodies from the buffet style cafeteria!


The next day, Thursday, was just as busy with apartment hunting! After scoping out a few places I found one I loved and submitted an application, which was followed by a celebratory Whole Foods lunch! We went back to our hotel exhausted later that evening, got a quick dinner, then enjoyed popcorn, Questbars, and the show “Girlboss” on Netflix (we were not big fans of the show).

Delicious fresh lunch from the Whole Foods hot bar!


We certainly needed the night of R&R before our last day. We got up and went to more apartment viewings and then got the wonderful news that I had an apartment secured! I was so excited, but that also meant the move actually felt real…

*cue the water works*

So I completely lost it in the Smart & Final parking lot for a solid 30 minutes, but I am SO beyond excited for this new adventure. After my mini-meltdown, we got a delicious lunch in cutesy downtown Burlingame and eventually went into the city to see a show called Mortified before our red eye back home.

Thai Chicken Salad–this chicken was some of the best I’ve had in my life!


So much has happened within the past week; it is mind-boggling, but in the best of ways.

I think this sign I saw in San Francisco sums it up pretty well.

Ted Talk Friday: How Airbnb designs for trust

The idea of Airbnb sounds  horrifying at face value; you’re letting random strangers come into the most personal intimate space you have–your home. Yes, the strangers are paying to stay there, but it still sounds bizarre and generally surprising that so many of us take this leap of faith. Joe Gebbia does a great job explaining how the platform builds this trust:

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I’ve stayed at Airbnbs and have always had a great experience. Have you tried Airbnb?