I'm writing this from memory, because of a fairly rough week. (bear with me!)
The other week, I found myself in the big city. I'd spent most of the trip down talking "transition" with my mother. I was in town for work, and on the last day, I decided to run some personal errands. In my travels, I stopped in to see Jon from The Body Temple (www.thebodytemple.ca). I knew he was just the guy to have a conversation about motivation and getting yourself PUMPED. (Psychologically, AND physically.)
I started explaining my story to him, the way I was running on an empty tank, the week of hell I went through, and how I felt like my life pretty much fell apart. I explained the move home, the 2-3 weeks of doing nothing, and the short job hunt which lead me to a minimum wage job which is convenient more than anything. (Some people have called me lazy for taking a job that's 10 minutes from my house... but the nearest "medically related" job (patient transfer) is 60 minutes from my place.)
We started talking about what is needed (physically and psychologically) to get out of limbo.
2) Exercise & Healthy Eating.
4) Measurable Goals & Rewards.
5) Support Network.
1) Routine - Face it, your time during school/clinical/whatever (during your "busy" time) was probably scheduled by someone else. You didn't write the rules. I'm not saying you need someone else to plan your life, but you do need structure. Plan things that happen on a regular basis. Give yourself deadlines and cut-offs. It will help you keep your wheels from spinning. Write it down or calendar it, and keep it handy.
2) This one is HUGE. You are now at liberty to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. You don't have an excuse to eat fast-food anymore, and you certainly need to do exercise to make up for the physical labour you're not incurring during school, or at your placement. Seeing as this one's so huge, I'm going to make a few points, and maybe re-visit this one in an entirely seperate blog post.
Identify any gaps in your diet. Address them, or replace them with what's needed. Jon suggested to me that I might not be getting enough greens (Green Supplement will fix this), and maybe, not enough Antioxidants from fruits (can be obtained via a Berry Supplement). This is me though. Everyone's different.
Find a nutritionist. With the likes of facebook, six degrees of separation and the infinite number of blog posts and guides, this shouldn't be too hard. Document your diet for a week, get a feeling for your problem areas, and modify your recipes to address them. I suggest visiting sites like http://www.epicurious.com to find easy recipes that might suit your lifestyle. (Programs & Recipes like "Take 5" (5 ingredients, 5 minutes) from Clover Leaf exist online. Go find them! http://www.cloverleaf.ca/en/recipes/tag/take5/ )
Re-think the way you live your day. Find new ways to involve exercise into your day. If you don't have the money for a Gym, there's plenty of ways to involve some exercises to preserve your required muscles for EMS. (also, a few ways to make an affordable home gym you can use to keep fit.
I can't tell you what will work for you, but after some conversations with Jon, this is my plan:
- Old Wooden Chair (free) : For Dips
- Push-ups & crunches (free)
- "PowerGym" Door-frame Bar (24.99$) : Chin-ups, pull-ups, etc...
- Home-made 10kg Medicine Ball (10$) : Core workouts, Twisting, Lifting, added to my Squats, etc... ( http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-your-own-medicine-ball/ )
- Ab-Roller (15$, But mine was a gift) : Ab-rolls
- A set of 4 resistance bands (~80$, SmartToner by Twist Conditioning™) ; I decided on Medium & Very Heavy (6') and Light and Heavy (4'), total cost about 80$, but can be used with an anchor point to work just about any muscle in the body. (I will be working with Jon at The Body Temple to put together some videos on YouTube to demonstrate.)
- Planking. It's Free! There's lots of variations on it that can help build more core.
Guides like this can help: http://www.instructables.com/id/complete-home-workout-guide-gym-build/
Here's the biggest point that was carried across to me though. Isolation exercises suck. It's true. I've done them (when I had a gym membership.) Great initial reward, but I found weak spots between muscles. Make your exercises count. Mimic the lifts and work you'll be doing on the truck, and you'll strengthen the muscles that matter most. (ie: dumbell in each hand + squats = stair chair lift. Straight Bar + weights + curls/squats = stretcher lift)
There are ways to make every exercise more difficult. Tired of or out-done regular push-ups? Do military push-ups, add burpies, diamond push-ups, etc...
Other things to consider at this point? Ladders/Pyramids (1 rep, 1 rest, 2 reps, 2 rest, 3 reps, 3 rests, etc...)
[Jon referred me to a great app called "Round Timer" for 0.99$ on the iTunes store for doing timed intervals which I *love* for doing planking, sprinting, etc... Can be found here: http://ax.itunes.apple.com/us/app/round-timer/ (US Store only?) ]
Like I said, fitness may be a topic that requires a seperate blog post. I'm not promising anything, but we may be "hearing from" Jon again shortly in the future. *tap of the nose*
3) Self Development. You need to keep up with your studies. "If you don't use it, you'll lose it." is true. Read up on new skills. Go over your protocols again. Challenge yourself to repeat old knowledge. Study a different part of anatomy/pathophysiology each day for 30 minutes. Whatever you do, however much time you spend into it, there is an important lesson to be learned here. This was reinforced hard to me by Jon. I knew it already, but you really have to sit and think about it for it to set-in.
ANY TIME YOU INVEST IN YOURSELF, YOU REAP THE BENEFIT OF.
NOBODY CAN TAKE THIS FROM YOU, IT IS YOURS AND YOURS ONLY.
Now, Read it again. Between points 2, and 3, you're focusing energy on YOURSELF, and making yourself healthier, and sharper. Every bit of time you spend developing yourself will open a new door at a job, get you a new friend, acquaintance or even let you accomplish something you didn't think was possible.
Everything you put in, you get out again. Nobody's trading it for money (ie; paycheck), nobody's stealing it from you. It's yours.
Read it again.
Print it off, even. Put it up somewhere. Whatever it takes to remind yourself. It's easy to forget in the chaos of it all.
Self-development doesn't need to come in the way of EMS specific skills, but spend time developing yourself so you can move forward on your goal path.
4) Measurable Goals and Rewards:
The rewards are easy. Find things you enjoy, and give them to yourself as a reward for staying on track, moving forward, achieving a goal, or simply having a good day. Having a way to measure these goals, benchmarks, etc... is necessary. Jon had a great idea for this; a book. A small (5x7 to 8x10) sized notebook with no lines (or lines, if you're a person who needs that kind of structure) to write down things like:
- When you got up and went to bed
- How you felt when you woke up. (Energy Level? Concerning dreams, etc...)
- When your workout times are, and what you did (how you felt)
- Meals throughout the day, including snacks. It is suggested to try to space apart your meals and snacks to keep your metabolism going evenly and constantly. Eat your first meal within 45 minutes of waking up. This will ensure you get the energy you need to get started on the right foot.
- Any awesome ideas you have along the way.
- Goals for the day, weather physical or otherwise.
This book will help you identify trends and problem areas to improve your lifestyle. If you're working with a life coach or personal trainer, this will also help them see things they can help you with.
5) Support Network. On this note, I am the luckiest person in the world. Despite not having anyone locally, I have probably one of the most comprehensive lists of people to reach out to when things aren't going as planned. If you have it, great. If you don't have it and need it, social media is your friend. I can't count the number of times a stranger has answered my tweets or added me on facebook by meeting me through someone else.
... My fingers are a little sore right now, so I think I'll stop. I hope this has been enlightening, and at least vaguely helpful. I'm doing my best to get back on track and kick myself back into gear. It's not easy, and it's often not very pleasant, but it's my life, and to quote a comment that came out during my conversation with Jon, "how can I care for other people, when I'm not taking care of myself?"
Stuck in limbo? Wheels spinning? Put some of my ideas above into play and let me know how it works. Maybe you'll get some ideas to help me too! :-)