The Gold Rules of Rehab

 

Remember when Raven was so lame that I took her to a specialty veterinarian, and he told me that she needed to be retired? Well, after 3 weeks after that moment, she was sound. So thank you, Raven, for always keeping me on my toes and never knowing what my life will give me.

…And that’s the first lesson of horses. And the first lesson of rehabilitation. Horses will never let you off easy. If they keep things interesting for us, might as well make it so we can keep it interesting for them…during their “off” season.

As a continuation of a post I wrote about combatting stall rest, I am continuing the conversation about rehab. Since that’s apparently something I am well-versed in (thank you, darling horse).

Before this year, Raven’s injuries were mainly hard tissue. This year, though, she hurt her lateral collateral ligament in her left front hoof (aka soft tissue) and something I’ve hardly dealt with. So cue my frustration because my horse literally never gives me a break.

To continue the story about rehab, lets start at the end of summer. So after she had about 6 months off, I moved her up to my new town, then we went lame again (yay love you Rae). Basically, my life is a bunch of I-dont-know-whats-going-on moments. But I think this is the second lesson of rehab. You honestly never know what is going on with them. We make these giant, beautiful creatures jump things and put their head in weird places, and guess what? Sometimes that makes them lame. So sometimes they’re sound; then they’re not. It could have been my fault, but it also could have been Raven…

When you have a horse, chances are you will spend a great deal of time hand walking them and praying to the soundness gods that your horse is magically sound. But, trust me, there are some golden rules of rehab.

The first is to make a plan…and stick to it! You know your horse, but your vet knows their physiology. LISTEN TO THEM.

The second is to make sure you don’t go crazy with all of this time off. I’m weird and go to the barn everyday, even if my horse is off, because if I don’t get to at least touch one horse a day, I go crazy. So do whatever floats your boat. Lease another horse, take lessons on the school horse, create silly obstacle courses for your horse to do, make them learn a trick. Honestly there is so much to do! Little activities you can do with your horse will keep you sane while also keeping their life interesting.

The third is to create a plan going forward. When Raven comes back from this injury, I know that she will no longer be able to do what I want. Knowing that I won’t be able to compete her kills me, but c’est la vie, right? Know your actions going forward with your horse, because that can also determine your rehab plan. If your horse hurt their suspensory for the 7th time, then maybe don’t let them continue hurting themselves and give them another job.

The fourth, and hardest rule, is to know when to stop. Sometimes horses have a funny way of telling you that they’re done. For Raven, it might be right now. For others, it might be throwing their rider over fence after fence. Being able to listen to your horse, and not your head, is the hardest part about rule number four.

Horses can be hard on us, but they’re cute, so its worth it. I will always treasure my competition horse-turned companion. I hope that one day I can have an easy ride on her, and I hope one day I can have another competition horse that won’t be so structurally flawed as she is so that I can actually compete. Maybe Raven will return to normal; maybe she’ll have a baby. There are so many opportunities when one door closes!

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But for now, I am going to take it one stride at a time and pray for a miracle!

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Jump Into…Clarity

I was 5 years old when I decided that I wanted to be a vet. I spent my whole life being passive about it, worrying about other things like what movies were out or when I could ride. I never once took an internship at a vet’s office or asked my equine vet to ride around in his car. But I still kept this dream all through elementary, middle, and high school.

I was 19 years old when I decided I didn’t want to be a vet. I decided so after riding around with the previously mentioned vet and being thrown into thermodynamics (which I absolutely hated for many reasons). I decided that my career would have to be something different.

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So there I was, 19 years old, at a college that specialized in agriculture, engineering, and architecture, in a major that specialized in pre-vet, and I literally have no idea why I’m there. Instead of running away, I decided to take every single interesting animal science class I could to expose myself to different things. I learned that I love horses, anatomy is amazing, and I still have no idea what I want to be.

A couple years later, I graduate college. I enroll in the MBA program because a well-rounded education sounded nice. I’ve worked in businesses before and people seem okay, right? Okay, well then I graduate. I still have no idea what I am doing.

Then, people start asking me what I want to do. As if I need more pressure, right? But it was actually useful because these people were a bit older and wiser and actually gave me sound advice.

So, after years and years of feeling lost, I am slowly pulling myself out of confusion. There’s a couple of things that helped me with this and I want to share them so everyone can embark on a journey of confusion to clarity.

  1. Talk to different people about things like careers, their past, or and wisdom that they can pass down to you.
  2. Don’t be passive in your life. Sometimes I think back and feel like I was dealt the wrong hand. I feel like I wasn’t given as many opportunities as some of my peers. But when I think more on that, it’s because I didn’t allow myself to open up. I didn’t allow myself to try new things or ask people for help.
  3. Do things that interest you. Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks because in 5 years from now, those people won’t be living your life.
  4. Read self-help books. Whatever you want to believe about them, these books are actually very helpful. Right now, I am reading about finding your career of your choice. I’ve also read books about empowerment and the like.
  5. Read memoirs. Watch documentaries. Learn. Expose yourself to things that might not be ‘you’ at the moment. This will all help you find yourself and your true passions. Plus, you might learn something really cool.
  6. Take time to self-reflect. I always loved the idea of keeping a journal. I’ve never been able to do it until I started this blog. If blogging isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other mindful activities that help. Doing something mindful for 20 minutes a day really helps.
  7. Don’t forget to have fun! I think I did this throughout my life, more than the other lessons that I’ve written down. While it’s not as productive, doing something fun helps you know what you want, what you like, and what you want to keep in your life.

There are so many more lessons I’ve learned throughout the years. But I think everything here is really important. No matter what stage you are in life, it is good to just allow yourself to have new experiences because that puts you one step closer to a life of happiness. And that’s what everyone on this planet should have.

 

Ok cool, so just take this thing called life one stride at a time and you’ll be good, yeah?

What I’m Good At.

Soon I will be an MBA. I will have a masters of business administration and a graduate degree in animal science. That’s a lot  of schooling. With all of this experience, I feel pressure to be wise and to have myself figured out. I know that I don’t have to, but that’s what modern society says.

I can sit here and blame society, but honestly, I would just be avoiding myself and not taking responsibility. It’s literally my fault that I can’t figure out what to do. You know why? Because of my attitude.

I am terrible at making decisions. I am afraid of risk. I am freaking terrified of failing. I let people get into my head. I over-analyze every situation and cannot stop thinking about it. I can easily feel depressed, just as I can easily feel over-the-moon. If I don’t do well at something, I automatically think that it’s not for me; I never assume it’s because I need to persevere. I am never an A student — I can’t motivate myself to try that much. My vocabulary is subpar at best. I’m a terrible test taker. I constantly make bad decisions. I’m not as selfless as I could be. I have low self-esteem.

There’s a bunch more I can write, picking apart everything that showcases my flaws. I’ll spare the details because, let’s face it, everyone has at least some of these characteristics. Sometimes I spend so much time devoted to thinking about everything I’m bad at, that I never highlight my good qualities.

The truth is, I am a strong person. I’ve been through a lot and I’ve lived to tell the tale. I’m good at hiking. I love nature and appreciate everything the environment has to offer. I constantly try to improve myself and become more well-read. I can ride my horse well. I drive a truck and trailer like nobody’s business. I can keep relationships strong. I am awesome with animals. I can run 2 miles in 15 minutes. I’m pretty good at drinking beer. I don’t fail classes. My mom likes me. I actually read the news daily. I stay humble. I crack myself up, even if no one thinks I’m funny. I’m good at making small talk.

Not that everything about me will get me a job, or suddenly make me feel better about myself, but it’s a start. I’ve been listening to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and while this book points out a lot of other things, it also emphasizes that you cannot go somewhere, you cannot motivate yourself, unless you start somewhere.

So I am beginning by writing down everything I can work on, everything I am good at, everything I like, don’t like, want to improve on because I believe this will help me understand more about myself. I also believe that this will help me start to figure out my life and what I want from it.

Now this is only the beginning, but I think it will work. I think that eventually it will lead me in the right direction. If anyone feels something similar to how I am feeling (which is lost), I encourage you to do this, or read self improvement books, or just do something. It can inspire you, motivate you, make you feel life you have a handle on life.

And I’ll be back with an update/more horse stuff/more hiking stuff soon. Remember to just take things one stride at a time (especially when life throws you a curveball).

 

6 Ways to Enhance Productivity

 

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To-do list. The first “to-do” of productivity (sorry, I can’t help it) is to compose lists of everything that needs to be done. It’s easier for me to wrap my head around the amount of work I have to do if I write it out. These lists can include everything from what needs to be finished in a day to a ten-year plan.

To-do lists also help break big tasks into smaller components. If you had a huge project due at the end of the quarter, lists can help you establish a timeline to finish the project early and definitely help you not lose motivation.

You can also prioritize your list of things that need to get done. I have to see Raven every. single. day. So that definitely goes on my high priority task list. But buying those cute boots I see at the boutique across the street isn’t really necessary, so I can put that on a low priority. And I should probably but saving money for said boots at medium priority, too.

Plus, it’s ridiculously rewarding to cross items off of your to-do list.

Organize. I LOVE organization. My idea of a fun Sunday morning activity is cleaning out my closet and tidying up my house. Organizing your purse, your life, your house, heck, even your kitchen, can not only help you keep from procrastinating, but can also relieve anxiety about a dirty house or even just make you feel more put-together. I always sense a bit of accomplishment and motivation whenever I have a tidy living room or a clean kitchen. Then I want to organize my task list my tackling it.

Take breaks. The number one killer of motivation is burn out. If you don’t allow your body and mind to refresh every few hours, you will quickly reduce your concentration, and therefore, productivity.

The tricky thing I’ve experienced with taking breaks is rather simple. Avoid Netflix. Seriously, Netflix sucks you in and before you know it, you’ve watched 5 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and your final is in two days and you haven’t studied a lick. Instead, take ‘productive’ breaks. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like a chance to relax, but it actually works!

Let’s say that you have allocated 10 hours for studying over two days, or about 5 hours a day. If you take a break every hour or so (or whenever you feel yourself slipping in concentration), take 10 minutes to go make tea, coffee, doodle in a notebook, call your mom, eat some almonds, literally anything that gets you off of social media and gives your brain a rest. You can even switch activities for an hour and go do something else on your task list. Simply taking a break from anything using critical thinking skills will benefit your work.

Establish a (healthy) morning routine. I’m sure you’ve heard this. I think everyone has heard this. But I still think it’s important to mention, because I notice that variations in my morning routine can affect my productivity. Take Saturdays for example. If I lay in bed later, checking Instagram, and not working out until later in the day, I tend to not get anything done. But during my week, I wake up every morning at the same time, walk my dog at the same time, and continue on with my morning routine of making breakfast, getting ready for school, and I cannot forget coffee.

This routine allows me to budget my time out, but also reduces my laziness. Have somewhat of a plan for the mornings allows me to create more time in my day for activities.

Eat and drink well. Eat a vegetable. Have water. Simple as that! Give your brain healthy food to feel productive, increase concentration, and feel better. No one wants to work when their body feels like shit.

Leave room for fun! While productivity can seem like your sacrificing spontaneity, I would argue just the opposite. If you write down everything you have to do in a day, you should have a rough estimate of how much time you need. So for the other spare hours you have, go do something adventurous! Hang out with friends, let your mind relax. This is where you can watch the 1o episodes of Westworld all at once because you can’t just not.

 

So there you have it. These are rules I follow to increase my productivity. I love staying organized, having task lists, staying healthy, this all leads to a better lifestyle. While changing things in your routine are hard at first, they soon become second nature, and you’ll forget what it’s like to have Instagram open all of the time.