A self-proclaimed eclectic soul in search of truth and enlightenment, Kristin has made it her goal and mission to use challenges as lessons for personal and professional growth. Having practiced martial arts and various sports as well as having healed from injuries, she has come to understand the importance of mind-body fitness. After studying art and earning Associates degrees in Communications, Kinesiology and Wellness Studies, she completed over 300 hours in Pilates teacher training and postural alignment education to combine with her physical therapy experience for work in post rehabilitation settings as a holistic rehabilitation specialist. Throughout her career she has acquired valuable skills in designing custom documents and working in client service, which have helped complement her focus. She is currently studying Kinesiology with an emphasis in Fitness at California State University of Long Beach in order to pursue research pertaining to holistic health as inseparable components of wellness. As a result of her array of education and experience, she has found that each opportunity has helped her further her progress. Knowing the importance of energy balance, she spends time with her family and friends as well as enjoying reading, meditating, cooking, and practicing restorative yoga, and is often humbly reminded that there is always more to learn.
Ah, the joys of living an adventurous (read: hectic) life. College, for me at least, has been like being in a candy store. I couldn’t decide what I wanted and ultimately stuck my hands into as many jars as I could, worrying about my choices as the closing hour drew nearer. The beauty of this mentality is that you are exposed to more amazing ideas then you may have ever thought possible, and it can benefit you in the future. For me, though it has provided many said benefits, the ugly truth of exhaustion, confusion, and burnout crept in, and I was none the wiser until it started to adversely affect my health.
Whether you subscribe to Western or Eastern medicine, stress leading to imbalances can affect your performance. Athletes have a lower immunity because their bodies are focused on repairing their muscles rather than their immune system. Some students resort to smoking or other behaviors to help dull the discomfort at their own expense.
Backed against the wall with the only option being to improve my health, I will share with you what has worked for me. Important note: This works. No one said it was easy; it is not a quick fix, but rather, a lifestyle. Just like lifting weights, these “spiritual balance muscles” have to be strengthened with regular, consistent practice. No one expects you to be perfect on the first day or 100 percent of the time. You can start with just one or two of these activities, but I urge you to incorporate as many as possible, since they help each other and it can be even more motivating when you see and feel progress being made. Do this for yourself and your body, mind, and spirit will thank you.
1. BREATHE. There are many ways to do this, which I will outline below.
2. Exercise. It is single-handedly one of the most proactive things you can do for your health. It produces endorphins that can help combat depression, stimulate your brain, enhance focus and creativity, help prevent injuries when done correctly and in balance, and allows for self-expression, which are all amazing confidence boosters besides having clothes that fit better. For me, exercise helps me clear my mind so that I can breathe, because I’m too tired to focus on anything else besides breathing and it forces me to stay present in the current moment.
3. Meditate. This does not have to be sitting in a yoga pose for an hour (though if it works for you, great)! This can be done while enjoying a cup of tea and watching the grass grow or the dog play or while sweating in a kickboxing class, or while on a leisurely stroll through a cemetery. What, do other people not do that? To each their own. The point is, find a place that is peaceful so that you can be calm, soothe your breathing, and reflect on the events in your life without judgment. Sometimes, allowing ourselves the mental break away from what is stressing us can give our minds the break it needs in order to have a breakthrough.
4. Sleep. Yep, that’s right. Find the purple unicorn in the college student’s life called Sleep and revel in its glorious joy for eight hours. Every. Single. Night. Even if you have to stay up studying one night, make up for that sleep over the next few days so that your immune system doesn’t take as big of a hit.
5. Eat nutritiously. Behold: Dark. Green. Leafy. Vegetables. Seriously, nutrition can change your life. Read ingredients labels. Learn to cook (YouTube or a good friend may be helpful). Take a cooking class. Make friends with Mr. Crock-Pot and Miss Rice Cooker. Meet vegetables. Eat them fresh and stir-fried. They retain more nutrition and taste better, provide more energy for workouts, help prevent deficiencies, and build a solid foundation for balance and performance.
6. Keep a journal. Be grateful every day. Note any exercise you did, any nutritional choices you made, and how you felt afterward. Also note how you feel after eating unhealthy foods. Is your body reacting to them the same way? What other things going on in your life may be affecting the way you feel right now?
7. Find a hobby. Do something for you, whether it’s crocheting, going on a camping trip, fighting robots, or learning how cells work in order to treat diseases. Ok, maybe the last one was a little deviant from what you find fun. But I’ve known some pretty awesome people who research stuff like this in their free time, and they have some of the sexiest brains I’ve ever shared oxygen with.
So relax, enjoy the ride, and find your center. You can have it all, just not all at once. Good things come to those who take care of themselves.