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February Wellness

Running with Randi 

Around half a mile I begin to imagine myself as a sexy burlesque dancer, a politician uncovering world peace, or a change agent instilling positivity to those around me-- depending on the day. I learned how to dream not when I sleep but when I run, dreams combining my conscious thought and vivid imagination. 

I used to hate running.  I have always loved sports and competition but running was a mind game I couldn’t seem to conquer-- until I moved thousands of miles away from everything I have ever known to join the Peace Corps.  Everything changed.  My interactions with humans were different than what I had ever experienced, I internalized most of my thoughts and my stress, and I became overwhelmed with anxiety.  I loved my Peace Corps experience, don’t get me wrong, but there were many changes that my body and mind couldn’t always keep up with.  One of the most important lessons I learned during my time of service was gauging my own wellness and how quickly I crumble when I am not practicing self-care. 

Running has become my chosen form of self-care because it is the only time I ever feel truly free.  I have the choice to move as fast or as slow as I want, breathing in the environment, seeing the world through my own lens, and facilitating an inner dialogue of what I dream the world to look like.  When I have challenging days or moments, I go for a run and the anxiety and negativity flows out while solutions and calmness overcome me.  This calmness brings about moments where I can actively reflect on my feelings and emotions, learning from events that take place throughout my day.  The days where I am teaching youth and perhaps don’t always have the right answers, my runs bring about the acknowledgment that sometimes it isn’t about having the right answers but offering youth a space to explore their own values to determine right or wrong.  The days where I am overwhelmed by the United States’ current political climate and the horrible ideology set forth by Trump, my runs take me to the realization that he is only one person and my experience, person, and rights are just as important as his.

These days running inspires me to be something bigger than myself. This particular mind game tests my mental strength and therefore expands my self-awareness and recognition of my personal strength and abilities.  Today I may feel fierce and sexy on a burlesque stage and tomorrow when I run, I get to choose whichever power I want to hold. All I know is that my power comes in the form of feisty and opinionated, aimed at fighting the current systems that oppress groups of people.  My runs have become my self-care, and my self-care produces a meaningful voice in the resistance.

Good Mood Foods

  • FOODS TO EAT WHEN YOU'RE ANXIOUS OR STRESSED

Avocados | This super food is great for brain health and combating anxiety. They're loaded with potassium which lowers blood pressure, B vitamins and monosaturated fats which are good for neurotransmitter health.

Leafy Greens | These guys are rich in magnesium, a natural chill pill and they help regulate the brain-adrenal axis. 

Kefir | Bacterial imbalances in your gut can alter your brain chemistry. This powerful probiotic drink can help with that. It also contains vitamins A, D, and K2.

  • FOODS TO EAT WHEN YOU'RE SAD OR DEPRESSED

Fish | Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids which can help you when your feeling down. Some people stay away from fish because it contains mercury, but if you stick to Wild Pacific types like salmon, catfish and flounder, the levels are lower.

Nuts and Seeds | A handful of these guys is high in magnesium, influencing the production of serotonin, and positively affecting overall energy production. As if you needed another plus, they're full of protein and healthy fats.

Ancient Grains | Grains like quinoa and barley are complex carbs that take longer to digest. This means they don't cause spikes in blood sugar creating a moody roller coaster. 

  • FOODS TO EAT WHEN YOU'RE ON YOUR PERIOD AND/OR P.M.S.ING

Chickpeas/Hummus | This snack go-to is full of iron. Yeah we need to replenish our iron. It's also full of protein to keep you from feeling sluggish.

Caffeine | Did you know that there's caffeine in Midol? Me neither. But why not drink an extra cup of coffee to alleviate your cramps instead. It's also going to help you pass up that midday nap. Unless, you know, you have the opportunity to nap. Then fucking nap, that's a blessing.

Oranges | These juicy little sunshine spheres are full of calcium and vitamin D. They reduce your depressive symptoms and regulate your mood swings.

  • FOODS TO EAT WHEN YOU'RE DRUNK AND HUNGRY

PB&J | It may sound complicated, but you can simplify it even further with a jar of Goober. Remember Goober, Goober is amazing.) Grab some whole grain bread and let the complex carbs soak up the excess booze and help replenish your B vitamins.

Chicken Soup | It's in a can. They make cans that have pop tops, no can opened required. You do need fire though, unless you're so far gone you're going to drink it out of the can. That's cool. You'll replenish your liquids and sodium. Plus, give you a dose of cysteine, an amino acid that helps your liver break down the headache. 

Popcorn | This snack will give you your salty fix. It's full of fiber, low in calories, and kind of way better for you than that bag of Doritos or the two orders of Animal Fries. 

  • FOODS TO EAT WHEN YOU NEED TO POOP

Kale | Without fail, I will clear out my system and more with one large kale salad. It feels good something so green and to have a clean colon.

Black Coffee | For me, this is a ritual. But, nevertheless, very successful. Wake up, feed the cat, make coffee, drink half a cup, poop, drink more coffee.

Panda Express Double Orange Chicken Meal | Every time it's delicious. Every time it kills me. Shit city.

  • FOODS TO EAT WHEN YOU WANT TO BE HEALTHY, THAT STILL TASTE GREAT

Avocado Toast | I could eat this every day of my life. Take one avocado, mash it up and add some lemon and a little salt. Toast some Ezekiel bread to your liking, add the avocado mash and shake some red pepper flakes on top.

Cashew Butter |  I love cashews, and apparently they help with depression! Yay! I add it to all my smoothies. It's a little saltier than peanut butter, so if you're into salty sweet, you'll love it.

Hard Boiled Eggs | These guys are the perfect on the go snack. Add a little salt, or wrap them in some turkey and you've got a protein boost. Trader Joe's sells them pre-peeled because they know how lazy I am.