As my students’ minds expand, so does my butt

Teaching has been very busy for me this past term. As a result, I’ve been doing more sitting than usual. Those assignments and essays don’t grade themselves, although with today’s, and other online editing sites, marking for teachers might be a thing of the past. As a result of all this sitting, as my students’ minds expand with new knowledge, so does my butt from sitting too much. Time to get back on this blog and start telling you how I’m going to create a healthier me.


Guest Blogger: LeslieWestby “Negative Stress and How it Affects the Body

An Introduction to the author: Leslie Westby took an Interpersonal Communications course through the Grande Prairie Regional College. This is her essay, published with permission, on Negative Stress and How it Affects the Body.

Negative Stress and How it Affects the Body

by Leslie Westby (April, 2016)

             Stress is something that will affect everybody at some point in their lives. Stress is not always negative and can even be helpful at times, however, I will be discussing negative stress: when it happens too often or lasts too long. Although negative stress can sometimes be avoided this is not always the case and it is very useful to understand our bodys’ reaction to negative stress and try to find ways to manage it in effective and positive ways. In the next couple of pages, I will discuss negative stress, how it affects our body, and what we can do about it. I will then discuss some common at-work stress-triggers and some techniques that can be used to de-stress.

When we are stressed there are many negative effects to the body that one might notice. Negative stress can, “be linked to headaches, an upset stomach, back pain, and trouble sleeping” (Healthwise Staff, 2015). As well as an upset stomach, chronic stress can cause digestive issues including diarrhea and heartburn. Negative stress can also weaken the body’s immune system making it easier to catch illnesses, cause trouble sleeping, or cause depression. Stress hormones cause the heart to pump faster which can cause high blood pressure and raise the risk of heart attack if the stress is chronic. Stress can also affect hormones which, when chronically affected, can cause infertility, erectile dysfunction, or cause an irregular menstrual cycle (Pietrangelo, 2014).

As previously mentioned, stress cannot always be avoided and can even be healthy and positive. However, when it is long-term stress or chronic stress it can be negative. Although it cannot always be avoided there are a few things one can do to avoid chronic stress or negative stress before it goes too far and begins to affect our body. Often stress comes from having too many responsibilities and too many things going on in our lives. When this is the cause of stress it is important to manage your time. Choosing which things in your life are most important or more urgent and focusing on those before focusing on everything else can help you to avoid the stress of doing too much at once. Finding a healthy balance in work, your personal life, family, etc. can help to avoid negative stress. A lack of sleep or unhealthy lifestyle can also lead to more stress so making sure to get enough sleep, to eat healthy, and to exercise is another way to avoid negative stress in your life. Having supportive people in your life is another way to avoid stress. These people can be family, friends, coworkers, or even a professional or a support group. Having someone to help you feel supported can stop the stress before it becomes negative. Finally, changing your way of thinking can help to avoid stress. This includes thinking more positively, learning or implementing assertive communication, and knowing how to problem solve. Changing the way you think about something even before it is able to cause negative stress is a very effective way of avoiding it (WebMD, 2014).

Although stress can be caused by many things going on in our lives, some of the most common causes of stress happen at work. One of the main at-work stressors is not having sufficient time to complete a task. When you do not have time to complete something or you think you do not have enough time, this can cause negative stress if it goes on for a while. Having realistic expectations for yourself or others at work can help to ease this stress. Another at-work stressor is too much multitasking. Having too many things going on or working on too many things at once can cause you to feel overwhelmed and overworked and can cause negative stress. As mentioned previously, setting priorities and managing your time can help to relieve stress in this type of situation. A few more examples of at-work stressors include having a lack of control, worrying about something that has not happened yet, feeling as if you have a lack of knowledge, or negative relationships within the work environment. Using different strategies to avoid negative stress as mentioned above or using de-stressors to get rid of unwanted stress can help us to manage the stress in our lives (Farah, 2013).

As everyone will experience stress in their life at one point or another, whether it be negative or not, it is very useful to know how to deal with it positively and effectively. There are many ways to de-stress but some of the most common ways include the following; exercise, relaxation techniques, meditation, anger management, learning assertive communication skills, education, recreational activities, and having a strong support system. Although it is important to remember that these strategies might not work for everyone, being aware of what strategies work for you will definitely help to release some stress and to help you to manage it in a positive way. Whether you are experiencing positive or negative stress it is important to understand how your body reacts to it and how to manage it.

I’m waiting for frumpy to hit the fashion waves

If the coat fits

I bought a winter overcoat at the used clothing store. I fell in love with it right away because it’s wine purple with felt cuffs and collar. It has a pattern that reminds me of the floral wallpaper that I’ve seen in pre-1950’s movies.

It didn’t matter that the coat fit like a tent, I loved it and wanted it. I took a quick trip to the tailors where they snipped away all the extra parts and downsized it to fit me. It was still a little too big, but that was okay. It meant that it would fit snug with a sweater beneath it.

That was last fall. Now I’m almost through winter and I can’t close the bottom button. I have to keep it open while driving because it’s too tight around the ass.

Maybe I put on some weight. Sigh.

Sitting on the pity pot

My body has bad timing, it choose to expand during a year that all the fashions are tight: knee-high pirate boots and spandex pants.

With blind optimism, I went to my favorite clothing store where I always buy too much.

I loaded my arms with new shirts and pants, looking forward to this new fashion trend.

I got into a change room feeling that the clothes that I already had on were so drab.

Instead, I planned on coming out styling! Goodbye frumpy!

But what’s this?

I casually pulled up the pants, but something had stopped their ascent at thigh level. Oh. My thighs had stopped them at thigh level. Looking down at them, they did appear a little meaty.

It’s just because I’m tall. Everyone knows that most clothing models are only four feet high.

Reject pile scored 100% and the I’m going to buy pile scored 0%.

I looked at my body in the mirror. I used to like this bra. It must have shrunk because my boobs were giving me a glacier depth crevice and my back was squishing out flesh.

I dressed into my old, frumpy clothes and shuffled past the cashier.

“How did you do?” The pert saleslady asked.

“What’s with these fashions? Can’t you people order anything for fat-assed women?” I walked out.

In addition to feeling fat, frumpy, old, and ugly, now I felt guilty for being so snappish.


Weighing in

Continuation of Stage 1: Denial

I bought a new bathroom scale. I tried it out and discovered the darn thing was broken! It’s reading me as thirteen pounds more than the last time I weighed myself!

When was that?

I think five years ago.

It’s the hair! I’ve grown my hair long and my hairdresser’s always commenting on how thick it is. Naturally, thick hair would weigh more. It’s grown a lot! Maybe if I drape the hair over the towel rack to take the weight off and then step on the scale.


Now I’m fifteen pounds overweight!

What a crappy scale.

Lesson Learned: Never step on a scale.


Stage 1: Denial OR Who Keeps Shrinking My Laundry?

Darn it!  This is my favorite shirt.  Now the sleeves are too tight and my boobs are playing peek-a-boo between the buttons.  Yesterday, I had to lay on the bed and use a coat hanger wire hooked into my pants zipper to pull them up.

Who keeps shrinking my laundry?!?

“You should wear your pants higher, you’re getting muffin top.” My daughter casually advised as I walked into the kitchen.  She was busy eating breakfast: a bowl of Sugarcrisp cereal in chocolate almond milk.

“Did you do my laundry?” I said with accusation.

“No. Why would I want to do your laundry?” She said with a surly undertone.

“Then it was Jim!”  Jim throws everything together and then turns it on hot.  I haven’t had a bright, white towel in years.

“I don’t have time to do your laundry.” Jim said as he headed out to go to work.

I watched him walking towards the door, thinking how nice his back is.  It’s the kind of back made from a heavy duty job where he’s pulling and lifting all day long.  My mind fluttered to a scene of Adonis-like sex. Jim turned sideways at the door.  His t-shirt protruded.  If he was a pregnant woman, she’d be way overdue.  Jim should go on a diet.

“Well, no one do my laundry for now on.”

Jim went out the door, Janaiya left her empty bowl and made her exit.  I poured myself a bowl of Sugarcrisp cereal.  I choose to stand instead of sit because I didn’t like the pinch of my shrunken pants digging into my skin.  Muffin top!  Sheesh!