Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy Place

Hi there.

A few days back, the Huffington Post shared some sweet little tidbits on finding your own inner happiness and balance. Thought I'd share my faves. All good things to work on!

"Follow a plant-based diet - Plants are miracles, just like we are. The facts are pouring in each and every day. I think we can intelligently say a plant-based diet is better for our health and our environment. Try to have the majority of your diet be plant-based.

Exercise - I cannot begin to tell you the incredible impact cardio workouts have had on my outlook and general well-being. Whether it is yoga or running, rebounding or cycling, get out and get it done. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain that actually calm us!

Foster a spirituality that includes meditation - Whether you believe in God, Buddha, the universe, etc., at the end of the day, having faith that there is something bigger than us brings a certain peace of mind.

Spend time in nature - I am an acknowledged tree hugger. Again, plants are alive, and miracles just like us. Hug a tree and feel the energy. Take some deep breaths in a forest ... feel the peace pouring in. Even if you live in a big city, spend time in a park. [YES! Studies have shown that living near a park or greenery helps keep depression at bay. And sometimes, NOTHING beats a long hike on a crisp day. -NYAJ]

9- Simplify and release your attachment to material things - We are all overwhelmed with stuff. Living probably only requires 5% of the things we have. Stop for a moment and think about everything you own in this way: Does it serve a purpose? Will it help me achieve an ideal life? If not, toss it or, even better, donate it."

via Huffington Post

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wellness While You Work

Real Wellness goes beyond weekends

Fletcher, VT - October 2009 - photograph by Meredith Crowley

For me, the dire need for personal "real wellness" came to a head during fall semester of graduate school. I thought I needed to spend every waking second getting something done for school or work - reading, writing, workshops, etc. I figured I needed to prioritize school above exercise, and very rarely made time for my own well-being.

As a result, it was hard to gain perspective... mainly, about what I (really) wanted to get out of my time at Harvard. So as you know, this semester I joined the gym, I'm training for a 1/2 marathon, I practice yoga regularly, and I feel much more centered and focused. I am a big believer in "work smarter, not harder". Taking breaks out of my day to do these things leaves me feeling refreshed and ready to go!

So as you can imagine, I am loving the mindfulness exercise my Teaching Fellow guides our Leading & Managing Organizations class through each week. I think it's crucial to remember that leading and managing requires us to face frequent challenges, and leaders do no one any favors by pushing themselves beyond normal limits. There are so many SIMPLE things you can do throughout your work day to keep yourself refreshed and in perspective:

1. Take a hike! Even just 10 minutes away from your desk and OUT of your building does wonders. I've come up with some of my best ideas when not thinking about projects.

2. Be Left Aloooone. Unless you need to be at the beck & call of some hotshot via hotmail, turn that little envelope guy on the right corner of your 'puter screen OFF. Too distracting. I don't even need to explain why. Instead, carve out specific times to check and respond to emails throughout the day. This also ensures no emails are read on your blackberry and then promptly forgotten once you check your inbox online. You've all done it.

3. Eat. Please. Really. I'm one of those people that "forgets" to eat lunch, and by 3pm I'm a complete crank-face: ie, massive headache and a hankerin' for something with salt and grease. Gross. Make yourself leave your desk to eat your lunch at a normal pace. Better yet, pack healthy snacks (homemade pita chips, veggies, hummus) to avoid the vending machine temptations.
3a. DRINK WATER. Just do it.

4. Have a Life. In The practice of adaptive leadership:
Tools and tactics for changing your organization and the world
, Weick & Sutcliffe recommend surrounding yourself with communities of care beyond the work setting. Join a book club, make times for friends & family, start a hobby or set a personal goal (yay 1/2 marathons!). You'll feel well-rounded, and you'll be less likely to take professional setbacks personally.

(Above excerpted/adapted from my post to the "Mindfulness - Meditation" Forum for Jerry Murphy's Leading & Managing Organizations class)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gym & Omelets: CONQUERED

Not Your Average Jane has has Not Your Average Amount of SchoolWork to do, so please accept my most sincere apologies for lack of blogging lately. Y'all know I love to blog-it-out.

But let's get past our little silent treatment episode, because I have happy news to share with you on this Valentine's Weekend. After being a member of the Harvard gym for over month, I have considered it CONQUERED. Yes, that's right folks, I have defeated the annoying treadmill sign-up rules. Then, I did a little high-kick and surmounted the impervious, testosterone-soaked nature of the (gasp) weight room. And when I mean soaked with testosterone, I'm not kidding. Those dudes sweat a lot.

But, today, after wrapping up a fabulous run on the treadmill (which was 12 minutes over the time limit for treadmills, *high fives* for beating the system), I felt like a billion bucks (which is more than a million, FYI). So down I went, and sweat along with the best of them. Good feeling!

This effort left me completely ravenous, of course, so when I got home from the gym I set my mind on making a scrumptious, healthy egg white omelet. And... I. Did. It. For someone who is hardly able to deftly maneuver a spatula over medium-high heat, this is indeed a Big Deal. To boot, it was freakin' good, guys. Like eat-at-the-kitchen-counter-so-I-don't-have-to-wait-30-seconds-to-bring-it-to-the-table-good.

Post-Gym Egg White Omelet for Lovers (it's Valentine's Day, dudes)
1/2 cup egg whites (from about 3 large eggs)
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon water
1/3 cup green peppers, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
handful of shredded cheddar cheese (no orange nastiness, plz)
1/2 pitted & cubed avocado

heat 1 tsp of olive oil in 8" frying pan on medium-high heat (heat that sucker up good)
whisk eggs, s&p, water
pour into hot pan
let set: scrape sides of pan w/rubber spatula every so often, letting mixture spill under
after ~2 or 3 min, sprinkle cheddar, green pepper, & red onion on top
carefully fold in 1/2 and immediately transfer to plate
top with salsa & avocado it at the kitchen counter.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Fave Recipe, Finally!

Happy Groundhog Day!

Whew, I have been such a busy little bee the past two weeks with school starting up again. Yet, my classes are GREAT, so I don't mind filling my days with thought-provoking readings and stimulating, practice-based discussion. And - drumroll please - I joined the Harvard gym. I just simply couldn't take stepping outside and expecting my body to run over 3 miles in 13 degree weather any longer (thanks bunches, groundy-hogger). More on my woes and wins at my impossibly small and awkward new gym in upcoming posts... like my frequent incredulous looks at those who read (and highlight) their textbooks on the elliptical. Thank goodness for yoga classes!

So, it's a wonder I haven't scurried to my Macbook earlier to provide you with one of my absolute most favoritest (I get to invent words, you'll learn to love it), simple, delicious, fulfilling, and WICKED good meals. Especially during the impossibly chilly evenings here in New England, this warm roasted vegetable and goat cheese salad consistently makes my belly happy. Bon Appetit!

Roasted Vegetable & Goat Cheese Salad

You'll Need:
1 head of Boston lettuce
Veggies for Roastin': I like sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini, & red onions
Crumbled goat cheese
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

1. Cut up veggies into bite-sized chunks (I like to quarter the red onion, leaving the layers intact)
2. Toss with about a tablespoon of olive oil, salt & pepper to taste (I like lots of pepper!), throw on baking sheet, and bake at 400 for about ~20 min (they should be a little brown and tender)
3. Whisk up 1 part olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar (about a tablespoon each should do it), add salt & pepper
4. Toss lettuce with dressing, add goat cheese.
5. Top with roasted veggies

Enjoy the YUMFEST. You're welcome!


PS, I apologize for the zero food pics on this blog. I'm usually far too hungry to whip out the powershot while the foodz get cold... but I'll try some self-restraint for next time! =)