Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Studying: Anxiety and Stress

Hello my Lovelies and Gents,

I'm going through Biggest Loser withdrawal! haha. I didn't know what to do with myself when I got home from the gym last night. And so I decided to study. It pained me not to blog, but I need to cut back on something right now...temporarily...don't panic!

I want to study. I enjoy the studying for the most part, but it seriously stresses me out. So I need to work on some things.

First, it stresses me for the obvious. I'm tired. I'm short on time. I work from 8-5 every day and my commute is 60-90 minutes each way. Then I need to get to the gym as often as I can. How can I devote the time I need to?  I try to get it in during some lunches. I try to schedule time at night. I try to schedule weekends. But, I am not race training anymore. I can now afford to double my study time. Possibly triple it.

So can I cut back on my gym time?  Technically yes. I am not in training any more so I don't need my long distances every week. I would still like one every month or so, but I don't HAVE to do that right now.  And quite frankly my knee is a mess and my hamstring is still tight. They need the rest.

I do not need to workout 6 days a week. It's not the end of the world if I cut it to 4 or 5 days for a little while. Or is it?  Physically it's fine. Mentally it's not. Mentally I am a basket case if I am not getting my workouts in. It all falls back to the ever present fear that I will fall back into the Former Fat Girl ways and start to gain the weight back.

Second, it stresses me with my test anxiety. I was never so happy to graduate from college. I am not a good test taker. Graduating meant no more tests.  But, did you know that if you move from Pennsylvania to North Carolina then you still have to take the written drivers test again?  I had been driving for years and was terrified that I was going to fail the exam (even though I think people should have to take the exam to renew the license, but that's another story haha).  I couldn't breathe and drove myself crazy studying for it.

I can't relax during exams. My brain gets dysfunctional and overthinks every question. The thought of a 150 question exam scares the *BLEEP* out of me.  It's not just a little discomfort. If you checked my blood pressure at rest and then checked it while I am just thinking about the exam, well it ain't good. I have severe anxiety over it.

Third, to me studying is a trigger to eat. Maybe it has to do with comfort for the test anxiety, I don't know. But when I'm studying all I want to do is snack on something. I don't care what it is, but I want something to chew on. NOT good when you are a food addict and trying to study 12-15 hours a week. It's extremely hard to sit down and focus for a couple of hours while resisting the urge to go buy a bag of chips or box of cookies to munch on.

For the most part I try to do my studying away from the house. I do it at lunch during work, I go to starbucks, and I go to the library. It's easier to do it at these times to minimize distractions. If I am home I will think about doing laundry or cleaning something or even put the tv on. If I am away for a scheduled period of time I can focus. I can also minimize the snacking. You can't eat at the library. If I am studying during lunch at work then I am eating fairly healthy. Starbucks sells food, but I'm not that wealthy to afford more than a cookie every now and then.

Fourth, it's stressing my body. My body is no longer exhausted from all of the running, but it's stiff and sore from studying. I try to stay seated upright, but I know I slouch. So my posture suffers and my neck gets stiff from constantly looking down. My neck has been sore for a week. Today I had a chair massage and usually they tell me that I have a lot of tension in my shoulders. Today she commented on how tight my neck was. She did a good job relaxing me, but I know it's going to come back as soon as I start studying again. 

I already sit and stare at a computer screen 8 hours a day. It's bad on my eyes and keeps me from moving around. I feel like I gain a pound every time I sit at my desk.  I need to move!!!

It's important to listen to your body. Mine screams at me all of the time. But, I have a hard time figuring out if it really is my body telling me to relax or if it's the Former Fat Girl trying to get out. This past weekend I was super excited to sleep in on Saturday. I literally had nothing planned for the day. I had things that I wanted to do, but nothing was scheduled in a time slot...well except for the Syracuse game that night. 

And so I slept in. I woke up at 9 and my brain wanted to get up and get the day started. My body had other ideas. I stayed in bed until 11 watching tv. And then I forced myself up on commercials to do little tasks. My brain was screaming GET UP AND GET STUDYING!  My body was screaming YOU HAVE ALL DAY! STAY HERE!  I did enjoy my time lazing around, but I got scared. That's how the Former Fat Girl used so spend all of her Saturday mornings. I think my fear of my old habits is keeping me from resting and relaxing. I should not feel guilty about one moring in bed, but I did.

Sometimes I wonder if the Former Fat Girl doesn't want me to take this Certification exam. I think she's trying to distract me and put doubts in my head. I think she's scared that she's going to disappear completely, as I hope she does, but I know she won't. As much as I don't want to be her anymore, she's who I was for 30 years. She is causing me stress. I'm starting to feel like Sybil...and I feel like I'm losing :-(

On the Upside, I have decided that to help with my studying of Anatomy, I will watch Bones and Gray's Anatomy to see if the terms are sticking in my head. hahaha. Hey, if studying means some time with McDreamy...well I gotta do what I gotta do.

Have a Blessed Night.

****Please note****

If you feel like you are alone on your journey and you just need some encouragement I am here for you! Shoot me an email and I will do my best to check in on you or give you the words of support you need several times a week. The journey is so much easier if you have support.


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