Working Out for the Unenthused

I ran for the first time last night in about four months. I didn’t run far, and I didn’t run fast. By the end, I felt like I was having an asthma attack. I’m writing this full of embarrassment. For over a year, I have been going through phases of running and then going weeks and months of not running and then deciding I want to start once more. I’m hoping one of these running phases never ends. So far, I have been unsuccessful.

I’ve never been gung-ho about exercising. At times, I’ve tried to convince myself that I am. It works for a while and then I decide I would rather gorge myself with ice cream and skip the gym, and do it again the next day, and the next day. And then soon, I find I haven’t been to the gym or exercised in months.

Back to the run I had last night, I went with Avery, who is far more physically adept than I. His long legs can easily run twice as fast as mine. So by the end of our run, he was breathing easy while I was huffing and puffing without the ability to speak for a couple minutes.

I know I’m capable of getting back in the game. I was once running up to three miles a day a few times a week. But I fell off the wagon because life happened, and I got busy. But I shouldn’t ever be too busy to be healthy. Diabetes and obesity and high blood pressure can be prevented in many cases with exercise and diet. (The diet thing is going to take some work.)

It’s all mental. Obviously telling myself that I’m enthusiastic about exercise and fitness doesn’t work because I know that’s a lie. I need to try something else like, “Exercise or you will lose ten years off your life span”. Or “Exercise now and you can live easier when you’re elderly.” And maybe one day I will grow to love fitness. For now, I will huff and puff my way back into daily exercise.

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Social Anxiety: Number One Reason Why My Dog Is My Best Friend

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I am shy. And I have social anxiety in certain situations. Even writing this post, knowing that others are going to read my words, makes me anxious. But it’s precisely why I’m doing it. I’ve always been more soft-spoken and for a long time, I thought I would always be that way. Of course just because I’m naturally more introverted and soft-spoken, doesn’t mean I’m destined to stay like this forever. And staying shy will not do anything for the anxiety I feel.

My anxiety stems from the fact that I feel every interaction I have with most people is that they are judging me. So I figure the less social interaction I have with people, the less they can judge me. That’s my logic. The problem with this is that I will always be saddled with anxiety because I cannot escape social interactions if I want to be a normal, functioning human in our society.

I also want to say that my social anxiety isn’t all consuming or off-the-charts bad. And I don’t feel it in all social situations. Talking to strangers is when it’s at its worst. Even group settings, in which I don’t know a lot of people, can set it off. It’s simply something I would like to grow out of. My social anxiety manifests by verbal withdrawal and loss of thought process. I also sometimes feel my heart rate increase, which of course only makes me feel only more anxious.

I’m writing this post because it’s something I want to move beyond. I don’t want to feel anxiety because I think people are judging me. One, I should not care if strangers are judging me. Two, I’ve had people tell me that they thought I was conceited or uptight because of my silence and shyness. So people are making judgments regardless of the fact that I don’t talk so obviously my tactic isn’t working so well. Three, I hate the feeling of anxiety. And finally, I just want to be able to make friends as easily as other people seem to. This is my first step towards living with my social anxiety in a healthier way. Wish me luck.

Sometimes You Just Have To Say “I’m Sorry”

IMG_0980I have never been good at saying sorry. Not because I don’t think I’m ever wrong. Often times I will know I’m wrong. But saying “I’m sorry” out loud is acknowledging to OTHERS that I’m wrong. That is difficult and embarrassing and hard. Despite that, people who want healthy relationships need to learn how to say sorry.

I like to hold grudges. Or I used to. I held onto my anger and let it control my actions. This is just not a healthy way of dealing with problems especially in a romantic relationship because relationships require communication. My punishment of choice is the opposite of communication: the silent treatment. And I never liked to admit when I was wrong.

Saying sorry in a relationship is important, though. It allows for healthy dialogue to take place. I am very proud of the way that I have learned that saying sorry isn’t showing weakness rather it shows strength and a willingness to work through problems rather than casting them aside and hoping they get better by ignoring them (this NEVER works, by the way). It’s a sign of maturity.

We need to make a conscious decision to say sorry more often. Mistakes need to be tolerated because no one is perfect. All relationships, in fact, are imperfect. And this is why “I’m sorry” is so vital. It may take a while before you are able to recognize that you aren’t being tolerant enough of your partner and their faults. But it should always be a goal to talk things out, let it go, and say I’m sorry.

I’m learning, and I still have a long way to go. Avery, stick with me. And I promise to do the same with you.

Irresponsible Pet Owners

Avery and I live in a dog friendly apartment complex. Something we absolutely love. They don’t have breed restrictions or weight restrictions which is absolutely amazing when taking into consideration the condition of the complex (it’s not rundown or super old, which is a problem we kept running into when looking for dog-friendly communities). We love were we live.

With that said, there is a growing problem. Dog poop. Knowing you live in a dog-friendly apartment complex does not give you the right to allow your dogs to poop wherever and then NOT PICK IT UP! WHAT THE HECK?! (I’m particularly passionate about this because I accidentally stepped in one of these surprises a few days ago.) If you own a dog, and live in an apartment, pick up after your animal! It’s not fair to everyone else that: one, doesn’t have a dog and two, does have dogs and are responsible enough to pick up their dog’s poop.

And the people around here have absolutely no excuse not to pick up after their puppies because our apartment is gracious enough to provide pet waste bags and designated pet waste trash cans. Yet, there are accumulating piles of poop around our apartment, in the grass and in the parking lot. I can’t take Stella out at night anymore because I’m afraid either she or I will step in a fresh pile of poo. If I find out whoever is letting their dogs go wherever they please (I’m not blaming the doggies what-so-ever because they don’t know better), they better be ready for the biggest rant of their lives.

 

21: Year In Review

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Happy birthday to me. My husband made me breakfast and baked me some yummy brownies. He also bought us tickets to DisneyWorld for the end of the month when he graduates before we go back to Texas! Woohoo!

I don’t feel like a year has passed since my last birthday. But an entire 366 days have come and gone since I turned 21. And a lot of things have changed.

  1. I own a dog.
    Or a more accurate description is she owns me. She’s changed my life, and I don’t know what I would do without her snuggles or her incessant barking for attention. I’m obsessed with her and her crazy personality. She’s taught me responsibility and unconditional love.
  1. I graduated college.
    If I don’t want to, I never have to return to school again. It was tough and made me feel beat down some times. Getting to go to the best university in Texas was such an honor.
  1. I moved away from home for six months.
    Okay, it’s only been five, but it’s the first time I’ve been this far away for this long. Now, I know I can do it. (But I can’t wait to get back.)
  1. I’ve been married for a whole year now.
    People say the first year of marriage is the hardest, but so far, it’s been pretty easy. Of course, we haven’t had to go through the rough times that life tends to throw at you, but I have faith in us.
  1. I’ve learned that my health is important.
    Unfortunately, I cannot keep eating Whataburger everyday and stay healthy and fit. (This news has saddened me.) I’m not cutting out junk food entirely, but eating healthy isn’t hard or impossible. It’s baby steps. I’ve discovered that I love green beans. And tomatoes aren’t as bad as I thought. I just know I would rather get ahead of my health before it becomes an issue.

Even when you think your life has been on pause or not much has happened, you are constantly evolving and changing and making memories. It’s important to take a moment to reflect on that in order not to take anything for granted. I’m thankful for having been given another year of life. Looking forward to the next year and what it brings.

4 Steps to Training Your Dog

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I AM NOT A LICENSED DOG TRAINER. ALL KNOWLEDGE IS FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

Whether you want to teach your dog basic commands like sit, down, stay, or walking on a leash or more complex tricks like shake, hi-five, or play dead (we’re still working on this one), these are my steps to training your dog.

Step 1: Give It Time
You will not teach your dog anything is a week or two weeks or three. You have to make a commitment to teaching your dog. House training is the hardest part of training a pup. It took months and lots of early mornings. It took not giving up when times were trying. If it helps, set aside time each day to work on their training, and as they learn, you’ll see you need less time.

Step 2: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
Some commands will take less repetition than others. But other times, it will seem as much as you repeat a command and work with your dog, they will never understand. It gets boring and monotonous, but if you stop, they truly will never understand. Stick with it. Keep going.

Step 3: Grant Positive Reinforcement
We used a clicker with Stella, which they learn to associate the sound with positive reinforcement. You are not to use a clicker to gain your pup’s attention or as the positive reinforcement itself. Use in conjunction with treats and praise. Stella preferred Blue Buffalo’s Blue Bits training treats.Treat and praise them heavily when they do something correctly. Slowly ween them of treats when they are consistently doing what you want them to. Always praise.

Step 4: Stay Consistent
You can not teach your pup to sit and then think that he or she will retain it forever if you stop asking them to sit. Keep working with them after they have already been taught.

Stella is a very good dog. But she has her moments. She likes to play around and not listen, she still likes to jump up on people in public when she gets excited. Boxer’s are known to be stubborn. But she has learned to sit, stay, to leave it, and drop it, among her many other “tricks”. She’s house trained. We did take her to puppy training classes where they gave us tools to work with her. But it’s our hard work and dedication to her training that’s gotten her to where she is today. Don’t give up on your dog or think he/she is untrainable. They’re worth it.

Social Media Life vs Real Life

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In light of the events of the Taylor Swift/Calvin Harris split drama, I wanted to give my two cents on the whole ordeal. The life social media portrays vs actual real life for most people are two completely different things. We control what we post on our Facebooks, Instagrams, Twitters. Sometimes we get confused about knowing people based solely off the content they post online. When in reality we know only a very small slice of who they really are as a person and what they are going through.  Most of us don’t post the bad, everyday relatable life things we go through.

This is especially true for celebrities. We didn’t see anything wrong with Taylor and Calvin until they split. Even then, they put up a front saying the breakup was amicable leading us to believe they just weren’t right together. And believe we did until news about Talyor co-writing This Is What You Came For came out. There was a whole bunch of drama about who did what. They unfollowed one another; they deleted posts about each other as if their relationship never existed. The point is, if everything blew up in their faces despite their best efforts to lead everyone to believe they were okay with each other.

And we all have those friends who only post selfies with their significant others. *I am not bad mouthing these people or putting them down. They have created so many memories and are capturing them for safekeeping.* What I’m saying is these are the same people who don’t ever post about the bad stuff their relationship goes through. Because no relationship is perfect and there is always bad stuff. Fights, arguments, family problems. I’m guilty of this.

I’m not saying we should air our dirty laundry. All I want everyone to know is that we are all going through things. And we shouldn’t idolize anyone based on their social media life. We should take social media posts at face value and not make assumptions about their life beyond Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.