Monday, January 28, 2013

Week 4: January 21st-27th...when's my vacation?!

It's sometimes hard to focus on the here and now, when I have vacations to Vegas and Hawai'i in my not-near-enough future to think about. I would so much rather spend my time researching hotels, flights, and the best restaurants than researching emotion regulation, anxiety, substance use, assessments, trauma, treatment, measures, or practicum sites. That is the life of a grad student I suppose, and you'd think this far into my program I'd have realized that by now and come to terms with it. Not to mention, I just came back from "vacation", and I'm already complaining? I also think I should be thankful I have the opportunity to take these vacations (although, Hawai'i is actually school related) and it is quite nice to have something pleasurable to look forward to, even if the first one is 100 days away (yes...I have a countdown going).

The week before last, I attempted 10 articles for my dissertation and  I fell short, however, I still read more than I was reading before. Then this last week I attempted the same, and still fell short...BUT... I read more than the week before. I am still short of 10 articles per week, although, I am making progress each week to where hopefully this next week I can set out to read 10 and actually achieve it.

My 5 things:

1. I attempted a mindfulness exercise.  Mindfulness is a practice that in recent years has been impacting the field of psychology and has shown to be effective with a number of different populations and for a number of different disorders. So the research is pointing to it, my colleagues and professors are pointing to it, and I .... well, honestly it just feels awkward and weird to me. My own psychologist attempted it with me in therapy and I flat out told her "listen, that stuff just isn't for me" and put an end to it right then and there. While this is all well and good, because it's not for everyone, I can't help but feel like my clients may be missing out on an additive to therapy that could be really beneficial for them because their therapist (ME!) finds it awkward and silly. It also bothers me that I have such an aversion toward it. There are other therapies and techniques that I don't use or have yet to use but I don't find myself loathing them like I do mindfulness. So I told myself I'd try it, and I will need to try it more than once as it will take time. And guess what? It wasn't totally horrible, although it did still feel awkward and silly, I survived it and am willing to do it again. So... we shall see how that goes, but... baby steps.

2. Went on a bike ride for the first time in about a month! It wasn't a huge one, only about 7 miles but it felt good to be outside and on my bike. I went with J and our friend Ray and we went on a trail that I've been on before in the town I used to live in down in the south bay. It was beautiful and sunny, although incredibly windy and cold! Hoping we don't wait another month for the next ride!

3. For Christmas J and I got binoculars and a bird book from my dad and stepmom. We've been really excited to use them but haven't found the time to go an explore and bird watch. We brought the binoculars with us on the bike ride and ended up spotting a couple birds of prey and nature in action that resulted in a pretty graphic scene of a dead goose and some very territorial predators. The binoculars worked so well and made it much more enjoyable. Plus, Ray is an avid photographer so he was able to get some really great, unique shots of the birds as well. Win-win all around. 

4. J and I finished up the Harry Potter series last night. I forgot how much I loved those stories and how well the movies did with them. I mean, any book-to-the-big-screen is going to have parts lefts out, slight alterations, and of course the movie is never, ever as good as the book. I would have to say though, that the Harry Potter movies did a pretty swell job overall, considering they're condensing 500+ page books into only 2 and a half hours. Now I just really, really want to go to Harry Potter world in Orlando!!!

5. J and I played a board game last night: Life-Twists and Turns! It's not the original game of Life that only gives you two options: have a family or have a career (misogynistic much?) but this version you have 4 options and you can do any combinations of them you want (you mean, I don't only have to pop out babies or get a real job?!). Board games are so awesome, and we rarely make time for them but we really, really should. J just proposed the idea of "game night" twice a week and I suggested instead of forcing it, we just play them when we feel like it. We'll see how that all goes. We only have a few anyway (Life, Monopoly, Scrabble, and Sex and the City Trivia) so we might need to invest in some more soon.

I'm finding that now, even only in week 4, it is getting a bit easier to identify and execute beneficial things  that I can do for myself. I think I'm still just scratching the surface with some of them but, it's a process.

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