Are we doing ourselves an injustice?

There’s just too much flourescent lighting everywhere.

This is what I’ve observed about my generation:

We sit in stuffy classrooms, we work in stuffy offices, we stare at lame computer screens, we talk on the phone more than we talk to each other in person…I could go on all day long.

I’ve been researching the subject of “happiness in the workplace” and there is a common theme in every article, book, video:

You have to find your own happiness.

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Where do I find my solace or what do I think of when I picture myself as truly happy? I’m on or near the water. I’m outside and appreciative of the beauty that is surrounding me. These moments tend to be few and far between because I don’t encourage myself to make the time. I would rather be productive so the next school/work day is easier…

That’s a terrible approach. I believe that a huge factor in a person’s productivity level stems from his/her happiness level at work or in class. We become immune to the little beauties (especially at LSU) throughout the day because we focus on our To Do lists. It’s time that we make time for ourselves.

We also need to get out of the office. We need to strike up a conversation with someone just because. We need to take more walks. We need to find a change of scenery. We need to close our computers. Most of all, we should probably smile more. I can speak from experience when I say that all of these things have inspired me to perform better. I am motivated to try something outside of the box, and failure doesn’t seem quite as terrifying.

I’m challenging myself to appreciate the little moments and take more yoga breaths when I’m feeling overwhelmed about something I’ll most likely forget about next week. As the adage goes, life’s too short.

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If only Richard Simmons was my instructor

You have to admit he had a way with words and his projection of those words.

(Disclaimer: This was inspired by a long run and a glass or two of red wine.)

I’ve been working my ass off since November in terms of fitness. It’s difficult as a college student to genuinely be healthy–mind, body, etc.–but I’m trying. It’s not a matter of hours you spend being active or the amount of calories you intake, though, and that has been difficult for me to conceptualize. 

I played 3 varsity sports in high school. I was always tired of running in circles for coaches (literally in cross country). My problem was that I never saw the benefit of being incredibly active. I was more concerned with how my body looked versus how I felt. By the time I came to LSU, I was burnt out on sports and suicide drills. And maybe this is super cliche, but now that I’m at the point in my life where I’m really comfortable in my skin…I would rather feel good than be concerned with how I look in an obnoxiously tight dress. 

I think that’s the bulk of the problem, America. We are so transfixed with our physical image versus how we feel when endorphins are released or how being all-around healthy (diet, exercise, sleep) can make EVERY LITTLE thing you do 10x more enjoyable. Seriously. Even the mundane things that you really can’t stand seem a little less annoying because you’re not exhausted and you’re energized by something other than an extra grande cafe’ latte. 

I’m no fitness expert, but I notice that now I look forward to my morning workout and afternoon jog. It clears my mind, releases some built-up stress and anxiety and makes me excited to take part in whatever I have planned for the rest of the day and night.

Every body is different, and we all find our solace in varying ways. Exercise is the same way. If Zumba is where you feel most comfortable, dance your ass off. If you would rather run the levee when no one is around, I understand completely. My one piece of advice: Give your body a chance to feel the best it can ever feel and it will repay you in the long run. 

“What does Richard Simmons have to do with anything, Erin?”

Well that’s a great question. 

The title works well…let me explain. Sometimes we need a little motivation. We like that instant gratification of ‘mapping our run’ or ‘checking in’ at the gym on Foursquare. If you need someone to truly motivate you to get to that next level–whatever that level may be–just ask. I know it seems odd and makes you feel vulnerable, but I guarantee that someone reading your post on Facebook or tweet about wanting to walk the lakes or check out a Group X class at the UREC will respond and want to know when you’re going. 

Take some risks; sweat a little more; forget about who’s watching you.

You have one life. Make it a healthy one.