Friday, March 6, 2015

So this is the last blog update! Wow. This better be the most interesting, funny, and informative post ever. There better be an overemotional recap of all the fond memories we've built over the past 7 weeks. Set your expectations real high, folks, 'cause I'm about to disappoint you. Big time.

Let's bring back that list I made a few weeks ago to see how much I didn't do completed.
1. Play guitar every day
I only practiced guitar once this week. I swear that's worse than normal. Most weeks, I practice 4 to 5 times... which admittedly is still less than 7, but I think we can count this as a success anyway because I've learned that playing music is a major stress reducer for me.
2. Do some short exercises when I wake up and some stretches before I go to bed.
There's no doubt about this one. Total fail. I did the exercises once, and then never again. And I never even tried the stretches. Athletics are clearly not my strong suit.
3. Make a blog post at least once a week!
I think I did pretty good at uploading regularly! Yes, some were a few days late, but they were all about a week apart.

The real question is: did I actually learn anything? Did I learn any ways to reduce stress? Well, I didn't find any magic anti-anxiety potion like I had hoped, but I think I did learn a few ways to keep my stress levels at a more reasonable level. I learned that playing guitar is a great way to relax quickly, and honestly just writing this blog is a good way to assess how I've been doing over the past week. I hope I can continue into the next trimester, because I really enjoyed this experience.

Now time for the really emotional recap of all our inside jokes and bonding moments. Do you remember the time I had an existential crisis and rambled for a really long time about the end of the world and aliens? Do you remember the time I quoted "The Emperor's New Groove?" Do you remember the time I didn't leave my house for a week? (I try not to). Do you remember the fact that no one reads this blog and that "you" is pretty much a figment of my imagination (at least no one reads it except you, Beccy. You're not a figment of my imagination. I hope).

What else can I say? I wish I had some deep meaningful quote or some really funny story to end my final post with. The only quotes I can think of at the moment are from the Emperor's New Groove. They don't fit the situation at all, but I guess it'll have to do. Just pretend it makes sense.




P.S. To keep up with tradition, here's the "List of Things I Thought About Instead of Working":
  • what color bedding I should have in new room
  • the Fall Out Boy concert I went to
  • taking a nap
  • did I really see a shooting star that one time? Or did I dream that?
  • The Emperor's New Groove
  • Big Hero 6
  • Kim Possible
Bye! <3

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I had an awful, awful day.

It should have started great, seeing as I had a full 8 and a half hours of sleep last night, but nope! Disaster struck almost as soon as I woke up. Or rather, didn't wake up. You'd think having gone to bed at a reasonable time would mean I would wake up bright and fresh and just totally ready for the day, but the complete opposite happened. At 730, I woke up a living zombie. I physically could not get myself out of bed, I was falling asleep sitting up. I finally dragged myself out of bed at 755 (5 minutes before I was supposed to leave). It's weird- when I don't get enough sleep, I wake up super refreshed and then gradually fall into zombie zone throughout the day, but it's the opposite when I do get enough sleep. I wake up totally unable to function, but then as the day progresses I find myself more and more awake, happy, and productive.

That's what happened today. I was a slow, slow morning zombie and I was late to school because I missed my bus. Even so, I was feeling pretty good by 9. I had finally fully woken up by then, and it was just such a beautiful feeling. It was like a fog had lifted. I forgot what it was like to be able to function normally. This happiness promptly disappeared when I got to school. The guy who normally drives me to my internship from school was out sick, and my new bus driver didn't know where she was going. At all. I had to direct her the whole way, but to be honest, I didn't really know where I was going either. I just kind of guessed, and at 11, after a very stressful bus ride in which we narrowly avoided a crash three times, I finally made it to my internship.

The first part of the day kind of passed in a blur. I did all my normal internship stuff, ate lunch, and packed up just in time for 2pm to roll up. And then 2:30. And then 3. And then 4. And then 4:30.

The Head of Transportation at my school totally forgot to tell the new bus driver she had to pick me up too, not just drop me off. So I was stranded at my internship for two and a half hours. Just waiting. And waiting. And waiting. I couldn't even do any homework because there wasn't an internet connection. I just played games on my phone for what seemed like forever. Finally my driver showed up, but that's not where the trouble ended- once I got back to school (at 5:30), I had to find a way home. I live kinda far from my school, and the next bus that headed that way came at 6. It was freezing outside, so I waited in a nearby Wendy's, but that was kind of worse because I was starving and I had no money. (I had spent it all on poptarts from a vending machine when I was waiting for those 2 and a half hours earlier).

When the bus came, I took it to the airport near my house, where my grandfather picked me up (after I waited for 20 minutes). He was in a god-awful mood, and we basically argued the whole way to my house- which I got to at 7pm, by the way. By that time I was in such a bad mood I couldn't focus on any work. I just wanted to relax. So I got barely any work (besides this) done.

Okay, I have to admit something. I wrote this loooong description of my day because I'm trying to postpone the part where I tell you I once again forgot to do my stress-reduction routine (big surprise). I'm working on it, I promise! I did drink a lot of water (I have to pee right now), and I started to get more sleep. I have to say, that 8+ hours really helped me. Yes, I was stressed today, and yes, I was grumpy, but if I had my normal amount of sleep (5 hours on average), I would have been far more stressed and grumpy. Getting sleep and drinking water seems to be the key to good health! Lesson learned.

 I would add in what I thought about when I got distracted while writing this, but I didn't get distracted! Not even once. Sleep and water are also the key to good focusing skills, apparently. Speaking of sleep and water, I'm gonna go now. I have to pee, and it's midnight, which means I've already blown my chance to have 8+ hours of sleep. I guess 7 will have to do. It's better than 5. Bye!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

It's vacation! Yay! I haven't left my house since Sunday or taken a shower since Tuesday. Sadly, this is not a joke. I am both lonely and gross. I swear I have both friends and fresh water, but the friends are all busy and if I'm not going anywhere, there's no point in taking a shower unless I smell bad enough that not even my dog wants to be near me.

Despite the solitude and the slight stench, I've honestly been really enjoying this week. I'm super relaxed. My mom has work and my sister's in a musical (Shrek, if you really must know), so it's just been me and the dog. I love it. There is nothing I enjoy more than being home alone. I've just been packing for moving, watching Netflix, playing guitar, reading, and internetting all week- the perfect combination.

However I've completely failed my stress relief routine. I didn't do a single thing on it. Not even once, despite all the excess spare time I've had. I guess I'm just so relaxed I don't need to. But I swear I'm gonna get on it! It will be easier once I have the normal schedule of school back... hopefully.

I don't really have anything else to add. There's not even anything interesting going on in my life for me to write about. Um... when I was cleaning my room, I discovered a squirrel skull in a plastic baggy. I think I found it when I was six and kept it for "science" purposes, and then completely forgot about it. It was a shocker to see it's socket-less eyes staring up at me, to say the least. I also came across a bunch of shark teeth I found when I was 8. I was a weird, gross kid. Still am, actually. I haven't taken a shower in two days, remember?

I found out one of my favorite band members is getting married so I ate half a tub of ice cream in celebration, and now I feel sick. I am just as disgusted with myself as you are, don't worry. It'll be interesting to see if I can peacefully transition back into a school setting, where I will see way too many people everyday and will most certainly not be able to eat ice cream for lunch.

I'm gonna go now, before I puke ice cream all over the screen. Bye!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

So I'm trying this thing called "have my work in on time," and it turns out a major step is doing my work a day early. This is a revolutionary concept to someone who's been consistently posting all her blog posts at least day late, but I'm trying it out anyway.

I just realized I wrote my last blog post so late, there's only been a day in between that post and this one. And honestly I don't have a lot to write, because I've only done my new stress reducing plan for one day so far- Tuesday. And I completely failed it on Tuesday.

Let's start from the beginning of the day. I woke up, went back to sleep, woke up, went back to sleep, and finally woke up for good about 30 minutes before I had to leave. I finally convinced myself to get out of bed 20 minutes before I left. Then I remembered the exercises I said I would do, and attempted 30 lunges, but it didn't go so great because my room is about two lunges wide. I had to turn around every other lunge, and I was also still half asleep so every time I turned, I lost balance and tripped a little. You know when baby horses are just born and they can't really stand up straight without falling? That's what I looked like. Except imagine the baby horse was trying to do lunges across a tiny, messy room after it had just woken up. I didn't even bother with the wall squats because I was running out of time and I don't even have any wall space.

The lack of room and clumsiness aside, the lunges were honestly a great wake up. I felt super energized for someone who had gotten six and a half hours of sleep the night before (note to self: get more sleep. That's a great stress reducer). That's about where the good effect the lunges had on me ended because I had spent too much time doing them and I missed my bus, causing me to be late for school. The rest of the day was kind of a blur, but when I got home I had to do a bunch of chores and I didn't have time to play guitar. I also completely forgot to do the stretches before bed. Long story short: the entire day was a total fail. I'll try again tonight, I promise!

I thought of a new thing to add to my stress reducing list- drink lots and lots of water. Here's a list I found on about why drinking water is important:

"Top 10 Benefits of Drinking Water: Don't Medicate, Hydrate!

1. Increases Energy & Relieves Fatigue – Since your brain is mostly water, drinking it helps you think, focus and concentrate better and be more alert. As an added bonus, your energy levels are also boosted!

2. Promotes Weight Loss – Removes by-products of fat, reduces eating intake (by filling up your tummy if consumed prior to meals), reduces hunger (hello natural appetite suppressant!), raises your metabolism and has zero calories!

3. Flushes Out Toxins – Gets rid of waste through sweat and urination which reduces the risk of kidney stones and UTI’s (urinary tract infections).

4. Improves Skin Complexion – Moisturizes your skin, keeps it fresh, soft, glowing and smooth. Gets rid of wrinkles. It’s the best anti-aging treatment around!

5. Maintains Regularity – Aids in digestion as water is essential to digest your food and prevents constipation.

6. Boosts Immune System – A water guzzler is less likely to get sick. And who wouldn’t rather feel healthy the majority of the time? Drinking plenty of water helps fight against flu, cancer and other ailments like heart attacks.

7. Natural Headache Remedy – Helps relieve and prevent headaches (migraines & back pains too!) which are commonly caused by dehydration.

8. Prevents Cramps & Sprains - Proper hydration helps keep joints lubricated and muscles more elastic so joint pain is less likely.
9. Puts You in a Good Mood – When the body is functioning at its best, you will feel great and be happy!
10. Save Money! - Water is FREE! Even if you choose bottled/filtered water, it’s STILL cheaper than that high sugar and fat-filled latte!"

Who'd have thought something as basic as water could be so beneficial for your health? In the Middle Ages (shoutout if you're a true 1390's kid) people were super obsessed with finding the "Elixir of Immortality"- little did they know they could have just drunk 5 glasses of water a day, and it would have had the same effect.

Okay, so maybe water can't grant you immortality. And the website I got that list from probably isn't the most reputable. But there are other, more reliable sources that would also tell you that water's health benefits are undeniable, and the healthier and happier your body, the healthier and happier your mind! So I'm going to add "drink lots and lots of water" to my list. I tried this out Monday by drinking a glass every time I used the bathroom, which was annoying (I ended up having to take a bathroom break like every 45 minutes), but effective! I felt so refreshed the whole day.

All this talk about water is making me thirsty. I'm gonna go get a drink now. But before I go, here's the list of things I thought about when spacing out.

Thought About:
  • What's the big deal about anime?
  • Rhode Island accents- why does everyone who has one sound so stupid? Do I have one? I hope not. I will physically rip my vocal cords out if I do.
  • Figure skating. Just thought about that in general.
  • Who or what is a Beck, and why did he win BeyoncĂ©'s Grammy???

Monday, February 9, 2015

So this is a few days late. Could I get any more predictable.

I don't know why it's late, seeing as I've had a three day weekend to write this. Then again, I've wasted sooo many three day weekends over the past month. Sometimes four day weekends. It's the snowpocolypse where I live, and I think it's been over a month since I've had a full week of school. We've had a least two days off every week. At this rate, I'll be in school until the Fourth of July. I'm not even exaggerating. Mother Nature apparently doesn't want me to have a summer. Honestly, I'm starting to doubt if there'll ever be a summer, or if Northeast America will just be a permanent ice cube for the rest of my life.

But just because the rest of my life is on hold right now doesn't mean this blog is. It's time to get around to the part of the blog I've been putting off- the anxiety reduction plan. The scheme to decrease my stress levels. The agitation shrinking strategy. The pressure minimizing procedure. The poison. The poison for Kuzco, the poison chosen especially to kill Kuzco, Kuzco's poison.

I can't believe that's the first time I quoted that movie on this blog.

I'm a little confused as to what to do for my stress reduction plan. I know a bunch of tactics, but ironically enough, any mention of some kind of schedule sends me into a whirlwind of anxiety. Even if my schedule was only to listen to music and watch my favorite shows 24/7, it would give me anxiety. So I'm gonna keep my plan/schedule short and sweet.

1. Play guitar every day (unless I really don't have time) because music really relaxes me

2. Do some short exercises when I wake up and some stretches before I go to bed, because exercising is supposed to be very relaxing. I don't know if this is true for me, as I've taken multiple yoga/woman's fitness classes in the past, and they didn't seem to work when it came to reducing stress. I'm still going to add low-key exercising to my list because I'd like to be more active anyway. If I was ever in the Hunger Games I would be the first to die, as I can't run for more than 10 seconds without feeling like I'm about pass out. I wish I was exaggerating. So hopefully getting more active and fit will help to reduce my stress while increasing my leg muscles and stamina.

I don't have the time, money, or space to build a home gym, so my exercises will just be the so called "easy" stuff like lunges/wall squats. For the stretches, I have a whole sheet of recommended stretches from the physical therapist I went to when I was 11 (long story). And when my family finally has a wii, I'll play Just Dance to work off any extra stress I might be feeling.

3. Write this blog at least once a week! I'll be able to keep track of what tips and techniques are the most useful at reducing stress. And it's honestly kind of fun to write this. I mean, I'd rather be watching Parks and Recreation, but if I had to do schoolwork, this is the most enjoyable. Even if it does take me a ridiculous amount of time to write a post.

I've been writing this for almost three hours now. See, even when I like to do something, I can't stay concentrated on it for long. It sucks. Here's what I did/thought about this week instead of focusing:
  • Mentally planned my new room out in my head
  • Had a mini existential crisis- How old will I be when I die? What will the world be like then?
  • Remembered the time me and a friend played a game of monopoly so heated, it almost completely broke my friendship her
  • Thought about the first time I met my friend Shayna and she thought my name was Brooke
  • Took a break to eat ice cream
  • Thought about all the times I've been to Boston
  • Thought about some puppets I used to play with when I was younger. What happened to them??? Are they in my basement somewhere? Or at a dump? What if they're actually alive, like in Toy Story? They would feel so betrayed.
  • Pet my dog for a really long time (you can't blame me for that one though. She's so cute.)


I think this is a good place to sign off. See you in a week(ish)!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

OK, I'M BACK, EVERYONE CALM DOWN. I know you've all been sitting on the edge of your seats, eagerly waiting for me to upload again.

....all zero of you.

I actually have been thinking about this blog a lot, despite my non-existent audience. I've decided that before I make a plan to reduce my own stress, I should write about what stress is in general. After all, knowledge is power, right?

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, stress is
a: a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.
b: something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety
c: physical force or pressure
Options A and B are exactly the topic of this blog, but if you're under stress because you are stuck under a large rock, or there is a giant squeezing you in his fist, you should probably seek help elsewhere. I'm sure there are plenty of nice blogs out there that focus on shifting large weights off of yourself. (Also if there is a giant on the loose, you should probably alert the authorities).

Stress is not necessarily a bad thing. A little bit of stress can motivate you do work harder and to do better. It can also be lifesaving- when you're stressed, your body releases special hormones and awakens your fight or flight system. While this is great in a life or death situation, it's not so favorable if this system is being triggered in an every day scenario. Then it can become exhausting and overwhelming.

Everyone will feel stressed at some point in their life, because everyone goes through challenging times. Common stress factors include being fired, losing someone close to you, or marriage/divorce. However, some people (such as myself) struggle with a stress disorder, such as anxiety. This means they'll feel stressed almost constantly, even if there isn't any drama in their life at the moment. Feeling such stress all the time obviously affects their happiness, their peace of mind, and their day to day lifestyle.

Anxiety can be hard to define. There are five different types- generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Not to mention, each one affects every person in a different way, so it's hard to compare cases to each other. I'm going to be focusing on GAD, because that's what I have, at least according to my psychiatrist. Generalized anxiety causes people to worry about... well, pretty much everything. That's why it's called generalized anxiety. Simple, everyday things paying bills or slight health problems like stomach aches will cause people with GAD great concern. To them, everything seems like a bigger deal than it actually is.

Anxiety manifests itself in different ways for everyone. For a while, I didn't agree that I have GAD because my anxiety is far from general- it seems to be specifically centered around timelines, and nothing else. I get anxious if I have schoolwork due, I get anxious if I have household chores to do, I get anxious if I have to get someone a present and it's almost their birthday. (Speaking of which, it's my best friend's birthday in three days, and I have no idea what to get her. Queue the panic). The more stuff I have to do (even if it's totally manageable) the more I worry. And the more I worry, the more lengths I go through to distract myself from worrying. And the only way to distract myself is to lose myself into books or the internet- and I can lose myself for hours. And then when reality finally sinks in and I realize I've spent three hours reading a Calvin and Hobbes comic book I've already read 5 times, the panic comes back even harder than before. This time too hard to focus on working at all. It's a vicious cycle, and it's even worse if there's some kind of authority figure involved. I instantly get five times more anxious if an adult reminds me about all the stuff I have to do.

Whenever I get that panicky type of anxiety, it's always centered around one thing- deadlines. GAD is supposed to make you feel anxious about life in general (that's why it's called generalized anxiety disorder, duh). That's why I wasn't so sure that I had GAD. But recently I learned that for some people, anxiety doesn't just feel like a panic. It can manifest itself as a feeling of dread- and I get that all the time. Not about any event in specific, just... in general. I could be in the middle of reading a book or listening to music or doing anything really, and all of a sudden, this powerful feeling of dread washes over me, and the only thing I can do is sit there until it goes away. Surprise surprise; that's a symptom of anxiety! So I've come to the conclusion that yeah, I do have generalized anxiety. I just feel dread more often than panic.

However, anxiety can't account for all of my concentration issues. I've already said I some of my problems concentrating are caused by anxiety (when I'm worried, I turn to books, tv, internet, etc. etc.), but the endless uncontrollable daydreaming isn't so easily explained. So wouldn't think it too much of a stretch (especially if you've done some yoga lately) to say I might have ADD.  It took me a full hour to write these last two paragraphs because I couldn't stop thinking about other things for two seconds. And not like anxiety related thoughts. Not worried thoughts. Just random thoughts. These are the thoughts I've had in the past hour:

  1. How are crepes made? Because the last batch I made was so overcooked they had to go to the hospital for third-degree burns.
  2. How are scrambled eggs made? Because the last batch I made was so overcooked, not even my dog would eat them. That one's not even a joke.
  3. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Dinosaurs, obviously.
  4. Would a dinosaur eat my burnt eggs? *spends 10 minutes just imagining a t-rex trying to hold a fork with their tiny arms*
  5. The time that passed between T-rex's and humans is shorter than the time that passed between T-rex's and stegosaurs. There were 85 million years between the time of the stegosaurs and the time of the T-rex, and 65 million between the time of the T-rex and the time of the human. Also dinosaurs were around for millions and millions of years, and we've only been here for like 200,000. Time is so weird.
  6. Can you believe that there were millions upon millions of years that there were giant reptiles all over the earth instead of us? And then they were suddenly wiped out, just like that? Kinda makes you think that humans could be wiped out just like that too. That's a nice thought.
  7. We're all gonna die someday. Someday every person will be gone. Whether it's from a natural disaster, a nuclear war, a robot revolution, or maybe space travel has gotten advanced enough that we all left to live on another planet. Every single person and all of their hopes and dreams and fears and stories will have just disappeared. And all of the stuff we've created will just be lying around earth, useless, overgrown by plants. The planet will be taken over by wildlife and animals once again. And then exploring aliens will land on our planet, and see all of the remaining proof of our civilization, and wonder what happened to us, but will never be able to fully explain it (kind of like us with the dinosaurs). But- plot twist- we are the exploring aliens. Within the hundreds of generations that have passed since our people left Earth, we somehow lost all of our records explaining where we came from. We know nothing of our beginnings... until one day, a young and curious space captain finds a small and inconspicuous planet in the middle of a small and inconspicuous galaxy. The space captain only ended up there because she was lost, but forgetting her map at her home planet was the best mistake she's ever made, because she's now discovering the birthplace of human kind.
  8. How old is Avril Lavigne?

I had more daydreams than that, but you probably catch my drift.

Anyway, if I do have ADD, it seems to be very intertwined with my anxiety, so I want to figure out how to be less anxious before I try to figure out anything else about myself. That's why I'm going to create a stress-relieving plan for myself to follow over the next few months...

...a stress relieving plan I'll reveal the next time I update. This post is too long already. I got carried away. I had a plan for this post, but my train of thought derailed long before I got there. Can you see how my brain works? There's no order to it, which is why everything I try to write turns out more like a stream of conscious than anything else.

And this derailed train I have for a brain needs to get some sleep before school tomorrow. Bye!

SOURCES (yeah I have sources, take me seriously):


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Okay... so... hi.

I'm gonna be honest here. I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

My name's Ana, and I'm a sophomore at the weirdest high school in America. I'm not gonna tell you exactly what high school, in case some crazy psychopath killer finds this blog and decides that I make a perfect target. What would a crazy psychopath killer be doing on blogspot? Starting a blog on the best ways to hide a body? Probably not, but the risk still stands, so I'll keep my specific location on the DL, thank you very much.

I guess I'm starting this blog because I want to be less stressed all the time, and I think writing about it is a good way to understand what exactly it is that's causing me to be so anxious. Written words will also help me stick to the stress reduction plans I make, because Lord knows it takes all of my effort to stick to any type of schedule.

I'm also starting this blog because it's a school project, so I kind of have to do it. But don't worry, even if this blog is the product of forced learning, we're still gonna have SO. MUCH. FUN!!1! FORCED FUN.

Or at least I'm going to have fun with this. I don't know if anyone else will, because I don't even know if anyone will read this, or if I'm just talking to no one. Just throwing stuff out into the void. What does that phrase mean? I don't know, but it sounded cool.

In all seriousness, I'm hoping this blog can help me with my anxiety. Having any sort of responsibility placed on me- and I mean any- always seems to send me into some kind of helpless panic, and it's just not healthy living this way. I'm hoping that learning and then writing about stress can help me make some sort of plan to reduce my own. So instead of doing a research paper for Lit, I'll just be writing this low-stress and really chill blog. Totally chill. Did you notice this calming purple I chose for the theme? It's super chill.

So I guess if anyone happens to stumble upon this, and relates to anything I just said, I invite you to join me on this adventure. This REALLY FUN, RELAXING, AND PURPLE THEMED ADVENTURE.

Or not. Like I said, I don't really know what I'm doing.