Friday, 3 June 2016

The Aftermath (Exam Week)

I know you're all probably well sick and tired of me carrying on about these exams and let's be real; no one's sicker or tireder of these exams than me!

But looking back at my hectic week and a bit (5 exams in a row; now who thought that was a good idea??) of exam mania it was interesting to see what happened to my generally unchanging lifestyle. Chuck in a day when I had to be up at the crack of dawn (I kid, the sun was nowhere near up yet!) to sit my exam roughly an hour and a half earlier than everyone else, so I could then race off to the inter school cross country and run my race in time before rushing back home to fit in a long and gruelling much needed them study sesh for the exam the following day!!
5:30am wake up, quick human bio revision whilst slurping down much needed fuel to power me through the exam and the race!
Frozen banana, frozen zucchini, spinach, kale, greek yoghurt, vanilla protein powder, peanut butter, frozen avocado, soaked oats and some water- voila!

Boy that was a mouthful. But yes, what I'm trying to say is I found it interesting to look back and see how my day-to-day living changed in any way and upon reflection, I stuck to a healthy-ish routine for those 5 long gruelling days!

What I think a lot of people struggle with when faced with a huge oncoming avalanche of stress and anxiety/ mental power needed is that exercise gets thrown to the back and forgotten about. And as easy as that is it would have wreaked havoc if I chose to do that this past week.

You see, way back when I was going through the darker days of my adolescence suffering from depression/ anxiety/ insomnia/ extreme fatigue and just not-fun-ness, that was when exercise and healthy living was not a priority in my life. That was when I lived off processed 'vegetarian' meals. I don't think daily plain pasta and cheese should count as a healthy vegetarian lifestyle! That was when I hadn't found my love for running and exercise happened irregularly.

Having learned from that time and grown immensely as a human, I know exercise is one of my major stress relievers in life and thus it needed to remain a high priority in this extra stressful week of exams. And you know what, I made some significant gains!

Monday morning I woke up craving a weight lifting sesh to literally obliterate my arms (probably not the best plan prior to a literature exam, but hey, don't fight the feeling!) And as a result, I crushed that workout, feeling strong and powerful for the rest of the day, as though I could tackle whatever life through at me- it was quite the positive start to the week!
 Me super chuffed I smashed that arm workout ^
Me freaking out that my puppy got in the shot!^

What followed was plenty more daily sweat sessions whereby I completed not one of Blogilates' Extreme Abs workouts, but two! One after the other! (To say my abs were sore the next day would be a generous understatement!!) I also had quite the run on my inter school cross country day and in general felt strong and happy (and sweaty) in all of my weeks workouts. They kept my mind fresh and my body energised to power through every three hour intense thinking slot.
This be me on the day of my them exam admiring my little baby bicep after some Blogilates workouts... what procrastination??

And diet? Look, I'm not going to lie. On more occasions than one did I come home from a morning exam and prepare a lunch of a whole carrot on a plate with some heated up peas and some other protein because that's literally all my brain could manage to come up with (and the stomach didn't mind too much either- you know how much I love the simple foods!). And after an afternoon exam that was followed by another few hours of study? Yeah, ain't nobody got time (or energy) to cook up a wicked feast. Dinners, too were of the simpler variety.
Oven-baked sweet potato topped with coconut butter, some steamed peas and a side of steamed brussels sprouts and broccoli. 

The only difference here between my version of simple and someone else's (perhaps one of my fellow exam takers) is my meals don't end up being bowls of cereal for dinner, or a two minute noodle cup heated ups with some hot water (not bagging them, just making a point- cereal for dinner is sometimes a necessity!). The fact is I still ate a whole bunch of fresh fruit and veg... it's just a lot simpler, requiring not much effort to prepare.

 Roast veg pasta delish!

With some peas and wilted spinach thrown in there for good measure :)

Whether it was a plate of raw veg with hummus as my main meal, or a bunch of roasted veg and pasta, it still nourished my mind and body and I knew that my mind would need all of those extra nutrients and love to keep on powering through this mental marathon.
 Get in me lunch!

So if I were to sum up the week? I think I did pretty well. Exercise is and always will be a priority in my life i think and even if 3-hours of ridiculously hard chemistry equations and questions I could have sworn my teacher had never taught us, I will still get in 5 serves of veggies or more because that's what my body craves and thats what makes me feel happy mentally, physically and emotionally- three things we should be constantly monitoring!
Toast in the morning will never let you down. Especially if you smother it with almond butter and crunchy peanut butter and enjoy with a side of creamy mango green smoothie!

So now I want to hear from you?

What are your go-to snacks/ meals when you have a mentally tough week ahead of you?
Is exercise a priority in your life, even when life gets super hectic?
What is your best way to relax and recover from a stressful week? Mine apparently is blogging as I stand here (hello standing desk!) and write up this post :D. A good bubble bath can never go amiss though!!

I hope you enjoyed that little reflection and maybe it sparked a little reflection on your own life and habits right now. Mid-year already and I feel like the year is flying by! Time to grab life by the wheel and take over this rollercoaster of a ride we call life and ENJOY IT! So our tasks for this week (you and me, okay?) to be present and grateful of everything around us, all of our blessings in life, to work hard and keep going until all the jobs are done (looking at you maths exam) and to as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS! Can't wait for a few free days of extra time in the kitchen!! Have a great day and bye for now friendly friends! :D

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