soul

Sitting with Uncertainty (and other things I’ve felt while living unemployed…)

Hello beauties!

A happy mid-June to you all. I hope the weather is beautiful where you are. If not, get a load of this:

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I’m as shocked as you are. This is San Francisco, for Pete’s sake.

Well, last I checked in, I had just completed the final rotation in my dietetic internship. Uncertainties abound, but the newness of being free from supervised practice hours for the rest of my career was enough to keep at bay the flaming ball of anxiety that often inhabits my gut.

Prior to completing my internship, I firmly proclaimed that I required some down time, during which I could focus on studying for my RD board exam, and with money I had saved, I could get myself through a few more months unemployed. After passing the exam, I would carry on with my job hunt, warp speed – factor 10.

Well, to my utter shock, as soon as I had about 3 weeks left of my internship, I awoke from a haze to find I had been frantically perusing nutrition job websites, and noticed fingers that looked like mine typing away at cover letters and requests for references. What. Is. Happening?!

I wish I could say I caught myself in this old behavior, realized I wasn’t giving myself the unstructured time I so wanted and deserved, closed my laptop, and refocused my energy on passing my exam while enjoying life around me. Alas, this was not the case.

A number of weeks into practicing my daily routine of wake up, coffee, procrastinate, job hunt, “organizing” (shuffling things around until piles look manageable), listening to 1/4 of an Inman RD exam review track, and back to “organizing”, I had a nice little epiphany at which I so peacefully arrived by having it slapped upon my face.

Through networking and good fortune, I was put into contact with several people who were offering jobs that looked promising. After phone conversations and/or email correspondence, these opportunities looked like potential hires. They were jobs that I would be completely happy exploring, and I thought it would take away the anxiety I have felt relating to the dreaded day I run out of money. Well, time and time again, after informal interviews went as perfectly as they could have, I was told I would be a great candidate for the position, but right now they were looking for someone who had already passed their exam.

Alright – what’s the big idea, Universe? I was told early on in my plight into dietetics that many companies are ok with hiring prior to passing your exam, with the expectation that you pass within a certain amount of time from hire date. But that was proving wrong over and over again.

And then I remembered… Isn’t this exactly what I asked for? Didn’t I say I wanted and needed time to focus on this exam, and getting my life together post-internship? And didn’t I predict how I would struggle to just sit back and ALLOW this to happen?

Hm… Seems like the Universe just might have my best interest in mind here.

So currently where I sit is here:
Going against the voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough because I get to live life on my own schedule these days, I have put the job hunt on hold. I am mostly focused on studying for this exam, and on appreciating what else I have going on, from a blossoming social life in a fantastic, still relatively new city, to community involvement and being of service to others. I have ACTUALLY done some legitimate organization which looks like this — a calendar where I can view things both weekly and monthly, noting sections of my exam review to go over each day to keep me on track to be as prepared as possible come test day. My exam is scheduled for July 23, which gives me over a month from right now to prep. I’m sure this time will fly by, so I’m avoiding the mind set that I have plenty of time and can get it done when I feel like it, which has often plagued me in the past; however there is enough time between now and the test for me to not be so susceptible to full-fledged conniption-style panic attacks if I only get through 5 pages instead of my intended 6 on any given Tuesday (if you don’t believe this to be a possibility, you were fortunate enough not to know me circa 2012).

For those fellow RDs to be who are curious about how I am studying and what materials I am using, I am going through Inman’s Review of Dietetics, and listening to the CDs where she reviews each domain and notes specific important details. That’s all I’ll say for now, and hopefully I can return in about a month to tell you that what I did actually WORKED, and share more at that time.

Until then, I will be sitting in some discomfort, and remembering to refrain from complaining about receiving the things I’ve always asked for.

Keep smilin, lovelies. Our futures are lookin damn bright.

<3,
Samantha

Weeks 29 – 36: The FINAL 8 in School Nutrition Management

Well, it’s been a long road, but I can finally say with pride rivaled only by exhaustion that I have COMPLETED my dietetic internship!

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School nutrition management was my final rotation, and it was an experience unlike most of the others. Something I enjoyed was getting to work with a team of managers who worked in non-nutrition disciplines. For most of my 8 weeks, I spent time with our Food Service Director, a Manager in Training, our Associate Director, and worked closely with our head chef and catering manager as well. My rotation took place at San Francisco State University.  As I may have explained in previous posts, my internship was completed (love putting that in the PAST TENSE!) through Morrison Chartwells, a subset of Compass Group. Compass Group has a multitude of sectors, which provide food and nutrition services to establishments from hospitals, to schools, to business and industry settings. Morrison is the sector of Compass that serves healthcare establishments, which is where I did my clinical rotations. Chartwells is the sector that serves schools (and Chartwells Higher Ed, to further categorize, serves college campuses). My experience was unique in that I was working with Chartwells Higher Education, which works on college campuses – most other interns in my program were rotating in K-12 Chartwells accounts.

 

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Now that that’s out of the way….

 

My school nutrition rotation taught me a lot about management, and working with a team in which you are often the sole nutrition representative. I did have the opportunity to work with the Regional RD, Laura, who oversees Chartwells Higher Ed accounts. However, this was a long distance relationship, and  Laura did not have a scheduled trip out to SFSU during my time there. She was always available by phone and email, and was a large part of my learning experience in this rotation. Not having an RD present at the site on a daily basis taught me many times over to be proactive and independent.

Chartwells at SFSU incorporates a concept called Balanced Kitchen, which I was so excited to be a part of. Balanced Kitchen focuses on wellness on college campuses. At one point, I conducted an audit to ensure the dining center was meeting the wellness criteria for this concept – and our SF State champs did very well! I remember being a freshman in college, and staying well with healthy foods was such a challenge. It is great to see higher education moving in a direction that promotes the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

 

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Some of the criteria for Balanced Kitchen (aka Balanced U), and what the dining center strives to promote.

 

This was a project-centered rotation. In these 8 weeks, I think I completed upwards of 10 projects – and all of them took some serious time commitment! Some highlights:

 National Nutrition Month Activities:

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Me, beaming in the presence of my food models. Typical.

 

Nutrition Educations:

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Weird shadow on my face… But here I am giving a lesson on eating local and seasonally. My favorite educational tool right now is my local foods wheel. Ask me where you can find one!

 

Participation in Sustainability and Real Food Events:

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IMG_7790 A real local food-focused event!

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Put on a Farmer’s Market

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Enjoyed soo much delicious local produce.

 

Stress Reduction Fair:

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Focused on how to use good nutrition to keep stress in check! So much fun talking to students – and I met someone I’ve communicated with in the blog world! Amazing.

 

and Staff Trainings, and Food Service & Sanitation Audits (not pictured, because not that exciting – bein’ honest, folks).

 

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By the end of my rotation, I had made some strong connections with Compass employees at SF State, and I feel this rotation was the best opportunity to get to know some of the higher-ups who work for corporate! Getting to know some of the big wigs who manage entire regions was not only inspiring, but also allowed me to make an impression, shake some hands, and learn more about Compass as a whole.

 

As this blog is about honesty, I don’t want to leave out how much I struggled to get through this last rotation. With 8 weeks standing between me and RD eligibility, the to do list seemed forever impending. It’s not that the rotation was extremely challenging – I have been SO grateful to be done with clinical, and the stress level was NOT THE SAME here. But I did feel often paralyzed when I looked down at the list of projects to complete, and it even took me a few weeks to get started on some. But as of posting this, my assignments are COMPLETE, and I am awaiting the OK to sign up for my RD board exam (eeek!). This is a good reminder for me that it will all get done if I work toward it, but I have to remember to stay calm, get focused and organized, and just keep moving forward.

 

Well, folks, that wraps it up! Thank you to everyone who continued reading through my experience! I hope I was able to shed some light on the experience of dietetic internships for those of you embarking on this path. If you have questions, or just want to let me know how I’m doing (or how YOU are doing), please drop me a line below, or shoot an email over to thenourishedsoulblog@gmail.com.

 

This may be the end of my 1240+ supervised practice hours, but don’t you worry – there is still plenty of living, studying, and trying not to have panic attacks that I’ll be continuing to write about. Stay tuned, beautiful people! The best is yet to come over here.<3

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An Email Address Means This Is Now a Real Blog, Right?

New contact information! If you have any questions related to nutrition/dietetics/soul searching/the Universe, any comments about the blog, constructive criticisms, or you’d like to be a contributor, you may continue to leave comments on posts, or shoot me an email at the blog’s new address: thenourishedsoulblog@gmail.com.

 

This is me attempting to compartmentalize my life’s never-ending tasks. I look forward to hearing from you all!

 

Also, if you haven’t already, please check out my Twitter and Facebook pages!

 

 

Happy Birthday to ME!

Today, I begin my 25th year of life on this often times lovely planet. And I am pleased to report that I find myself in good spirits, and very happy with where I am right at this moment. I think back to my younger years, when we girls were planning out the age we’d be at our weddings, how many kids we’d have, and how we’d manage being an actress, a scientist, a journalist, being a mom, AND being a circus acrobat all at the same time, all by this very date–my 25th birthday (anyone else?). Naturally, my life is nothing like what I had pictured then for 25-year-old Sam. But the incredible thing is that I am OKAY with it. And my complete acceptance of where I’m at now only creates more happiness for me, as I feel I can truly call myself an adult. I understand that there’s more to come, and that I do have so much time left. There are endless opportunities ahead of me, and accomplishments, challenges, and joys I will have that I have no way of even expecting now. But I can also see that in order to create positive change for myself, I must act now, learning about myself more and more each day, no matter how much it hurts sometimes.

The best is yet to come, and I have a fantastic feeling about year 25.

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Oh what a day is today…

The Darkness

I’ve not typically written here about my depression. This may, perhaps, be an effort on the part of my guarded subconscious to keep my depression a secret, as I often feel compelled to do. It is not on purpose that I keep this aspect of my life out of my blog, but I haven’t made a strong effort to include it either.

Yesterday, however, I was truly struck by it, and must congratulate myself on identifying what was going on. I figure if it’s been so difficult for me to understand the workings of my own mind, I can’t be alone, and maybe some of my readers will benefit from a share.

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On Tuesday night, I was leaving my second job (working in an eating disorder recovery program), and had a recurring thought: “I fucking love my job.” The day had been hard. A client was sent out to the hospital. And eating dinner with a group of recovering anorexics, bulimics, and binge eaters, I assure you, is no breeze. But I was truly so excited to be there, and recognized how lucky I was to have found what I believe to be my true calling at the ripe age of 24. I couldn’t wait to return two days later.

Thursday finally arrives. But I come into work, and I just feel… different. Can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s a vague sadness, finding it hard to notice color in things. But it’s more than sadness. I hear a negative voice that has had its volume maximized. The self-loathing overtakes me, and I doubt everything I have to offer the world. It hurts to smile. I can’t seem to find the brave face I feel my clients need to see plastered on me for their recovery process to be adequate.

I begin to panic: here I go again, getting bored before something even has the chance to begin. I start to hate myself for, once again, jumping to the conclusion that I love something before I have the chance to see its dark side, believing that I have no choice but to hate this career choice forever. I catastrophize my life.

Then I remember: I am depressed. Sometimes the darkness creeps in, and it often has very little to do with where you are, who you’re with, and what you love. It can overtake you at inopportune moments, and when you least expect it.

I don’t justify my feelings as a cop out. It’s true I may be depressed, but I won’t be victim to it. I refuse. I will do everything in my power to prove that I can beat this, as I have decided that it will not run my life. BUT, I believe that recognizing these moments–being able to know what that sadness feels like inside, and recognizing why it’s happening–is the first step to finding your cure.

This is not your fault. You are not bad. You are not lazy. You are not stupid. But you are not a victim. And you are not alone.

ImageIf you have battled depression, or any other mental illness, please feel free to utilize the comments section below as a means of support. Others need it just as much as you do! ❤

YogaGlo — NO MORE EXCUSES!

I know, it’s easy to find excuses not to exercise. Especially when the type of exercise you’re working toward is an activity you don’t particularly care for. That’s why I firmly believe in picking an activity that you LOVE. I heard some great advice once. Paraphrased, it was: choose a work out that you love so much, you would do it EVEN if it wasn’t GOOD FOR YOU! And for me, that work out is YOGA. I can honestly say it is in my top 5 list of ABSOLUTE FAVORITE THINGS (including non-exercise activities) TO DO, and I choose it as my mode of exercise as frequently as possible.

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See? 😉

But, being a busy person on a strict budget, I often run into 2 significant hurdles — insufficient funds to maintain membership at a yoga studio and, even if my income permitted, I have a schedule that doesn’t often allow me to get to the classes that are offered. I’m sure many of you run into similar problems.

 

Well, fear not fellow… busy poor people! There’s an app for that! Well, a website. Yogaglo.com brings the studio to your personal computer screen. They have a seriously vast selection, and are breaking it down for you by teacher, yoga style, level of difficulty, and duration of the class. And when I say vast, I am NOT messin’ around (and neither are the wonderful people at YogaGLO). The site offers nearly 2000 videos at this time, and styles range from Ashtanga to Kundalini to Vinyasa (and then some). They even have Meditation classes available ranging from 5 to 60 minutes. 

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There are a number of really useful tools on the site, as well, that will help you commit to your yoga practice, even if you can’t commit to a studio. You are able to set goals for number of classes per week, and it will track how many you’ve completed (I just signed up, and am already 2/3 of the way to my goal for the week!). You can also add items to your “queue” to take the classes later, and have the option to note which time of day you’d like to use that particular video.

 

I know there is more, and I’m still discovering! The site is also incredibly user-friendly, and offers some great tutorials on how to use different tools. It should be noted that IF YOU ARE NEW TO YOGA, you should take extra caution in your practice. Take it slow, and if something doesn’t feel right to you, don’t push it (this is true at any level of yoga practice). Taking classes in-person with a certified instructor is always great, but if that’s not an option, YogaGlo supports the idea that it’s no excuse to discontinue your practice. And if you are new to yoga, check out the site’s Beginner Center under the Yoga for You tab–lots of great videos to get you started!

OH, BEST OF ALL: Membership cost for YogaGlo is only $18 per month–some studios charge nearly this much for a drop-in class! They currently have a 15 day free trial that you can sign up for. DO IT!

I will miss the personalized adjustments from certified yogis that so often make ALL the difference — but there’s no harm in popping into a studio every so often for a tune up :).

 

Enjoy this beautiful evening, and check out YogaGlo! And most importantly, do something that nourishes you tonight :). Feed your soul!

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Ommm

Incredible Life Percpective from Our World’s Youth

It often takes the point of view of a child to get across the jumbled words swirling through my brain for the past 24 years. This is spot on.

Wise, wise words, young one.