Tag Archives: Exercise

Another Manic Monday

I don’t dislike Mondays, per say.

However, I’m not exactly on the verge of starting a fan club, either.

So, stuck somewhere between disdain and enthusiasm, Mondays are just kind of “urgh-like” for me. And, yes, a new adjective really is needed to describe this.

With this uncomfortable ambivalence, I find it is much easier to err on the side of enthusiasm when there is something to look forward to about Mondays…

Consumed: Blueberry yogurt mixed with 1/4 C uncooked oats, 1/2 t Chia seeds and topped with frozen blueberries. Left in the fridge overnight. Topped in morning with crasin granola and spoonful of PB.

Even though overnight oats make frequent guest appearances on my blog, I still love them. I mean, why eat something “urgh-like” when I can have something so delicious. And, yes, yet another request for a new adjective…

Anyway, moving on.

I actually enjoyed my breakfast outside today, soaking in what the weatherman called “Summer’s last stand.” In further recognition of the summery day, I pulled out my sun dress for one last gasp of warm air.

Albeit I wore a shirt underneath to avoid classroom chills. A girls gotta’ think ahead.

Both my morning classes were consumed by review sessions, as both professors apparently conspired against me to plan tests for Friday.

When noon rolled around, I brushed my tension off my enjoying lunch my a soothing campus fountain…

Oh, wait… That’s what I wanted to do, not what I actually did. My mistake.

(Note: This picture was actually taken for a journalism assignment. My life = journalism.)

Instead, my real lunch was devoured in the company of newsroom computer #3. Although good ol’ #3 is a pretty face, she isn’t much of a conversationalist. At least I had an exciting meal…

Consumed: Italian-Blend lettuce, sweet cherry peppers, artichoke hearts, baby bella mushrooms, onion and carrots. All dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.

Mondays and Wednesday lunch breaks are always a little rushed for me, so I decided to cut my losses and enjoy the second part of my meal during editing class.

I brought along a new (to me) Kashi granola bar.

Cherry + Dark Chocolate? Yes, please!

What’s more, this bar reminded me of how much I love real granola-granola bars. To explain, (because what makes sense in my head has a way of turning out confusing) I really like Lara or other fruit-based bars. However, my real favorite is the classic granola bars that I can break apart bit-my-bit.

After editing, I ran back down to the newsroom to quickly finish up some work. Then, I made the trek home, changed into workout clothes while still charged with motivation and headed over to the gym.

Three miles later, I stretched, showered and gussied up. When I was satisfactorily good-looking, I jumped in the car and drove over to Dan’s.

The occasion? His pharmacy school convocation!

Doesn’t he just look professional?

Around 5:30, we walked up to the Kansas Union to meet up with his parents. Then, Dan got corralled in with all the other 3Ps (first year pharmacy students) and I found some seats with his parents.

While waiting for the ceremony to start, I chatted with his mom about everything from wood-shop accidents to the cute outfits of other girls. Dan’s mom is seriously hilarious and a ton of fun to talk with.

A little after the scheduled start time of 6 o’clock, the ceremony started up. Even though I wasn’t sure what to expect, I quickly realized how big of a deal it all was. I mean, I shouldn’t brag, but my boy is pretty awesome…

After a few speeches from the deans and a graduating student (who said a lot of romantic relationships are formed in pharmacy school. Ahem?) the students were all introduced on stage and made to sign a professionalism code.

I felt like such a paparazzi, but didn’t really care.

After a few closing remarks and some refreshments, Dan and I went out with his parents to dinner. Dan’s destination of choice was “On the Border,” which is a chain-Mexican restaurant.

(Fun fact: The first date Dan and I went on was to “El Mezcal,” a local Mexican restaurant.)

It was about 8 o’clock by the time we all sat down, so I choose to have a few tortilla chips to settle my hungry stomach. I was a little disappointed by the vegetarian options, but found a appealing-sounding salad on the menu.

The salad traditionally comes with chicken, so I asked for that to be subbed for black beans. I also asked for dressing on the side, but the waitress said it already is mixed in…

I went along with it all, but when my food came out it was slightly apparent that the waitress was confused. For the good news, I did get black beans instead of chicken. However, there was no dressing. Kind of a mystery.

No matter. The salad was loaded with plenty of other goodies, so I easily devoured it anyway.

By the time dinner was all consumed and the check was paid, it was pushing 9 o’clock. I went back by Dan’s for a bit, but had to get home to finish up homework.

And, that was all this Monday wrote. Now, on to another long, long Tuesday.

At least the countdown to the weekend is one day less!

Questions: How do you get psyched up for a week of work/school? What does your significant other do?

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Exercise makes you smart? Well, duh.

When deciding on a career in journalism, there were a few key selling points:

  • Action and excitement? That beats a cubicle any day.
  • The ability to meet new, interesting people? I’m all for that.
  • The use of critical thinking skills to deliver the best, most informative story? I love a good challenge.
  • The pressure of quick deadlines? Not exactly my strong point…

Despite my hesitation about the stress of time limits, the other aspects of journalism were just too hard to resist. I put aside my fears, enrolled in J101 and never looked back.

Now, halfway to my journalism degree, I’m just as passionate as ever about spreading the news.

In part, this is due to my sure-fire tactic against writer’s block: When a deadline seems to be all-too-quickly encroaching, I put my notes aside, lace up my shoes and pound the pavement.

That way, instead of wasting half an hour on Facebook staring blankly at the screen, I actually do something productive.

But, the benefits don’t stop when I return hot and sweaty glistening from my workout. Instead, something miraculous happens: I plop in front of my computer and the words I was previously unable to find seem to flow onto the paper.

I used to like to refer to this as, “The Paradox of Exercise.”

As it turns out, there is actually science to back my claim that exercise makes you smarter. In a recent article in Real Simple Magazine, Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D., said that exercise increases the ability to concentrate.

More specifically, short bursts of heart-pounding exercise flood the brain with oxygen and other chemicals, such as dopamine. This serves to both reduce stress and improve the ability to focus.

All that means is that my ritual jog is good for more than just working up a sweat. Pounding the pavement actually helps me pound out a paper.

And, with little time to spare, I’ll take a “kill two birds with one stone” scenario whenever I can get it.

FYI: I didn’t even need to take a run mid-way through this article. The benefits of exercise on concentration are actually long-term. According to “Mind Tools,” a stress management program, physically fit people “have less extreme physiological responses when under pressure than those who are not.” Therefore, good physical health also helps avoid long-term effects of stress.

Question: Do you notice a difference in your ability to concentrate after exercising?