Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How to concentrate when you're down...




Let's face it, we have ALL been there.  You have a huge project/paper/report due in less than a week, and your Nana gets sick and makes a trip to the ER.

How do you handle the stress, the fear, the anxiety and STILL find a way to get your head back in the game?

Simple.  Separate yourself.  I know, I sound crazy.  Seriously though, it CAN be done.

I am currently going through a lot of personal hardship.  I talked about how I am a single mom, and besides the hurdles that come with that, I am also going through other personal issues that at times make me feel like my head is spinning.

Yet, I am still maintaining that 4.0! I don't know some days how I do it. Between school, work, the kids..life.  It all adds up and can make you crazy.

I find if I separate myself into pieces, then it can be done.

Take for instance homework.  I literally sit myself down and say, Ok Aliki.  For the next hour, you are not mom.  You are not a referee for the kids.  You are not a counselor to your friends should that phone ring.  You are simply a homework machine.  And I tell myself that it's ok to ignore that phone. To tell the kids they won't die because Ali stole Niki's mustache necklace, or that the world will survive should I decide not to clean up the remnants of dinner.

Separate yourself.  You are you and you need to focus on your goal.

What about emotions?

I am currently going through a very sad divorce/separation.  It is very hard to keep my head in the game at times.  What I find is, if I focus on what I'm doing this FOR not what the immediate need is, it helps me focus.

If I focus on the fact that it's an English paper and it's boring and tedious, then it gets very hard to concentrate.  However, if I remind myself WHY I am in school...why I'm taking this class...it gets easier.

If I remind myself that my future is based on the outcome of school...that it is my gift to my girls for our future...that it is literally all I have at this point to rely on a career with, then it makes it so much easier to keep my eye on the prize and get that homework done.

We are our own worst enemies. We stand in our way most times. Don't stand in your own way.

Focus...breathe... and turn off that ringer ;)


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Healthy Eating on the Go

In my last blog, I discussed how it is possible to get things done with a little finesse and planning.  I know at times life can get a bit overwhelming and it is easy to just throw good health out the window. Have no fear! With a little bit of forethought and some time saving tricks, you can eat healthy on the go! 

I have a lot on my plate this summer. (Pun intended)  The headache of finding a place for the kids to be while I work and take classes is hard enough.  Finding ways to keep healthy can be challenging at times to say the least.

I imagine you may have the same issues at hand when it comes to healthy eating and staying on schedule. 

With these tips, hopefully you can find a way to get work done and still find ways to stay healthy.

We've all been there.  You have 20 minutes to get to work from class.  The easiest thing seems to be to run to your local fast food joint and drop $5 on a greasy, fat and carb laden sandwich  and scarf it down like there's no tomorrow.  This seems like a good idea at that moment but your stomach and waistline pay for it later.  Guilt sets in and you wonder if it was even worth it.

A smart move would be to plan these times out in advance.  I realize even thinking about planning a meal seems daunting when you already have so much to do.  Have no fear! Here are a few quick and easy snacks anyone can make ahead in 5 minutes flat.

1. Almonds-Keep these in your car or in your bag for a great and wholesome snack on the go. Filled with good fats they keep you satiated.

2. Beef (or any other meat) Jerky- A high protein snack always easy to pack and needs no refrigeration.

3. Guacamole- Yes you may need to pack this in a small cooler, but it's totally worth it. Filled with good fats and lots of flavor, this can be a mini meal in itself   Look for the prepackaged, 100 calorie versions at the grocery store.

4. Wraps- Super simple to make.  Just grab a high fiber tortilla, add cheese, deli meat, veggies and wrap in a burrito shape. Quick and simple yet totally satisfying!

5. Fruit is another great option.  Already pre packaged and needs no fridge!

6. String cheese-Tasty and full of calcium.

These are just a few quick and easy snacks for the student on the go. I know it's not always easy to take care of ourselves when we are busy running around all day.  It is important to not only eat every 3-4 hours to maintain energy and brain power, but to also make sure the calories you consume come from healthy options.

Don't give in to the junk food temptation! With a little planning you can do it!  You're body and brain will thank you!

After all, swim suit season is just around the corner... (groan)




Thursday, March 14, 2013

If a mom can do it, YOU can too!

There was a time when the thought of school sent shivers down my spine. I remember as a teen the dread I felt every morning that alarm clock sounded. I would roll over and smack it within an inch of it's life and pray that perhaps I forgot today was Saturday. I would drag myself out of bed and begrudgingly get ready for school.

Everyday was the same mindset. I would sit in class and scoff at my math teacher when he would tell me how important my education was and how one day I will rely on what I've learned.

I ended up graduating 3 months late, with a 1.3 GPA. Yeah...I know. Not my proudest moment in life.

How right my teacher was. If only my teenage brain could have truly grasped his words.

Now, at 33, those words are more important than ever.

I am a single mom with two amazing kids ages 8 and 10. Niki and Ali are the best things that have ever happened to me. Unfortunately, I never planned on being a single mom. I had a life that I thought would consist of taking care of my kids while someone else took care of me.

Stupid I know.

I never went to college after high school, decided to be a stay at home mom and relied on someone else for support.

If my high school math teacher could see me now, a big "I told ya so" would be in the picture.

I have zero regrets about being a stay at home mom from 22 to 32 years of age. It made and sculpted my kids into the amazing people they are today. I did, however, regret never going to college.

I felt it was a dream. Something far off and intangible. A life meant for someone else. Someone smarter, someone younger, someone more deserving.

I was so wrong.

Last semester, I decided enough was enough. It was time for me to reclaim my life and achieve my goals. I needed to be a role model for my girls. How could I sit there and preach to my children about the importance of education when I had none? How could I talk about perseverance, faith and belief in oneself if I had nothing to show for my life? Something had to be done.

I looked into classes at SCC. It was something I had been wanting to do for a while, so I figured no time was better than the present. I called, made an appointment with the counselor and went home that day with a strange feeling. A feeling I had never had before when it came to school.  ... Excitement.

Me? Excited about school? Was I feeling ok? (fever check)

I went home that night and asked myself one simple question. Can I do this? After all I had been through, all the hardships I had faced, all the trials I had been experienced...the answer was yes!

My dear readers, especially you young ones, I am here to say there is absolutely no reason you can not achieve your goals and get the grades you desire.

I am proof of this. I have now been at SCC for two semesters, and I have maintained an A average in all of my classes.  I do this while working, taking care of two children, taking care of all the household duties, grocery shopping, exercising, doctors appointments, flus, fevers, ear infections, assemblies at the girls school, helping my girls with their homework, doing my own...should I go on? I'm sure you get the picture.

If I can do it. What is your excuse? I'm not here to make you feel bad, or point out your flaws. I want to be here to motivate you to believe in yourself!

Yes, we all have busy lives. Yes, we all need a break and deserve down time and to be lazy, but if you are not getting the grades you desire, ask yourself why.

The biggest obstacle in your way, most times, is you.

With balance, hard work, a goal oriented mindset and perseverance, you CAN achieve your goals.  With some basic pointers on how to balance your work load, you can rock at school. I do and so can you!

In my future blogs, I will talk about helpful ways to balance life with school, all while maintaining a social life.

Yes, I do still have fun, and I do have a life outside of school and kids. It's hard, but it can be done.

I am honored to have this blog and please feel free to ask me any questions or make any comments.

Especially all my single parents out there. If you just need to have some support, I'm here! I'm glad to have met you, and I look forward to helping and learning from you!

-Aliki

“You are Braver than you Believe, Smarter than you Seem, and Stronger than you Think.”
Winnie the Pooh -