everything ok?

Peonies in my neighborhood…so gorgeous.

Hello, friends! Did everyone have a good weekend? I certainly did. I didn’t do anything special. It was just relaxing. Who all watched the Game of Thrones finale? I might be the lone ranger in this opinion, but I liked it. I went into this last season with no preconceived ideas on how I wanted it to end. There are so many characters, so many story lines, so many subplots that have been built over the course of 10 years that it was a near impossible task to tie them all up to EVERYONE’S satisfaction. I think it ended beautifully. Even the violence in the end was graceful. (No spoilers.)

ANYWAY. Moving on.

I heard a quote this weekend that I’ve been mulling over. Here is is:

The disease to please is a form of addiction.

Any folks out there struggle with the need for approval? People pleasers? Worry constantly about what people think? Just me?

For me, I don’t need constant pats on the head, or constant words telling me (like a dog) “Sarah, you’re such a good girl! Such a good job!” My anxiety and stress comes from the constant worry of making sure everyone is ok with me. I hate telling people “no”, and worry when I do that I’ve immediately made that person upset at me. I’m forever giving up whatever I do want to do, for fear of hurting someones feelings or disappointing them. I’m positive every person who has ever texted me (about anything) has also received a text from me that says, “Everything ok?” And I usually send that solely because I hadn’t heard from them in a while and I’m worried some action I’ve done has made them upset at me.

I. WORRY. ALL. THE. TIME.

So, in this way, that quote is very accurate for me. I can’t stop.

But I need to.

It’s a hard pill to swallow thinking that there will be some people that will be disappointed in some of the decisions I make, or words that I say. But here’s the deal: do I expect this same level of care from everyone in my life? NOPE. Not even close. Things are said to me all the time, off the cuff, that hurt my feelings or make me feel little. But then I get over it and move on. People tell me no, why can’t I do the same? Why am I holding myself to such an unreachable standard?

Of all the things I’m trying to correct in my life, I need to make this a focus. It feels like I have so many irons in the fire to help my anxiety, but if I keep living and curating my actions based on the perception of others feelings, I’m never truly going to heal. This is a tough one for me.

TODAY I LOVE: the smell of peonies
SONG OF THE DAY: “Breathe Again” by Sleeping at Last (cover)

but then I stopped.

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN, Physical video, circa 1981-82

I’m writing this during the day. ON MY LUNCH BREAK. Yeah, I still can’t get over that. ūüôā

So this morning I did something that I wanted to write about. You want to know what it was? I didn’t go to the gym and I didn’t feel guilty about it.

At first glance that sentence probably doesn’t mean very much to you. So what? I didn’t go to the gym. I don’t go to the gym several days a week (rest days.) It is the second part of that sentence that makes me smile. I have all the excuses for wanting to sleep: it took me a little while to fall asleep last night, the cat woke me up sometime in the middle of the night yowling as he was chasing a bug (I had to get up and make sure George wasn’t dying or anything), there was a thunderstorm early this morning and it was lovely to sleep to…and when my weekly alarm went off at 4:30am I was sleeping so good that I just turned it right off and went back to sleep. Again, it’s the part AFTER I’m most proud of.

Usually when I make the decision to sleep in and miss a workout, it’s almost a moot point. I will lay there and beat myself up for giving in, for being weak, telling myself that this is why I’m fat, etc. I have very, very ugly self-talk early in the morning. And then I don’t end up benefiting from the extra sleep because I’m so mad at myself! And I didn’t do that today.

Don’t get me wrong, old habits are very hard to break. I started to let it all wash over me. I started thinking about my friends seeing my LACK of Apple Watch activity and thinking me lazy and fat, I thought “Sarah, this is only slowing your goals,” I thought the gym regulars and my workout partner would think me wishy-washy and uncommitted, I thought myself ugly. BUT THEN I STOPPED. I really can’t tell you how hard this was to do, but I did it. I stopped all the thoughts and I redirected them. And I went back to sleep.

Maybe I’m finally putting some parts and pieces of my old Psychology degree in place, and maybe I’m recalling some old tools from counseling I’ve had, but it is slowly working.

Do I still have those ugly thoughts? Yep. They’ve tried to creep up on my several times this morning. And I have to actively and forcibly stop them. After sitting here and unpacking it all (after I journaled it), I’m realizing that I have a lot of internal things to work out, but I also seem to have a big hangup of others judgement of me. And it’s not by their doing – it’s my own mind. I need to think some more on how to help me change that setting within myself. I shouldn’t be having these thoughts to begin with, much less fighting them 24/7. Baby steps.

In the end, that extra sleep was ah-mazing. It was well worth it. It makes me no less of a person because I didn’t get up and go to the gym this morning.

TODAY I LOVE: sleeping during a thunderstorm
SONG OF THE DAY: “The Place Where Lost Things Go” by Emily Blunt (from Mary Poppins Returns)

Soft.

It’s been a week since I admitted to you all that I’m struggling with stress and anxiety. Truth be told, I’ve been struggling for a while but it’s just gotten to the point that I didn’t feel I could handle it without help. So I’ve made changes.

I’ve tried several changes in lifestyle this week. Here’s what I’ve done that has worked (so far):

  • Taken a break a work; at lunch. The weather has been super crummy, so I haven’t been able to leave the building, but I’ve intentionally locked my computer, silenced all notifications, and read. I’ve been able to lose myself in a book for at least 30 minutes everyday. It has been so nice!
  • Started having a glass of Nuun Rest before bed. I’ve had 4 nights in a row of great sleep. Only one night have I woken up at my trademark 1:30am and started thinking about work, and I consciously changed my thoughts, focused on some old meditation/relaxation tricks from therapy, and I went back to sleep.
  • Started taking Super You vitamins from Moon Juice. I didn’t get them until Thursday, so it’s only been a few days. It might be all in my head, but I do think they are helping me focus and not overreact at things. I’ll be keeping those up for sure.
  • I intentionally do not talk about my faith here. After my divorce I was very ashamed and I kinda left church or a bit. Looking back I don’t think it was a conscious decision, but it happened. I’ve been to a new church these last two weeks and I can’t explain the joy it brings me. I’m already looking into a life group; to bring more people into my circle. We aren’t meant to do life in solitude.
  • I’ve forcefully (and sometimes audibly) stopped all thoughts of negativity about my weight and body image. I’ve stayed within my macro limits this week and I’ve gotten over every ugly thought (again, sometimes forcefully). Eventually, if I keep training my thoughts, the ugly thoughts won’t come so much.

What hasn’t worked:

  • I answered a few emails the weekend and I said I wasn’t going to. Grrr.
  • I’ve continued to be negative and a bit closed off at work.

Three times this week I’ve been talking to people and I’ve said something that I want to remember for later. I’ve openly admitted my struggles, and I’ve said that I’m trying to become soft. After I said it the second time I caught myself and then packed it away to examine later. I had become a very hard woman. I’d become jaded and abrupt. I didn’t want to listen to anyone about anything. And I need to become soft. I need to be a sponge. If I’m letting people and words and love wash off me like water off a rock, I’m never going to be better. I need to soak it in. What if what I’m repelling is what I need? What if it’s the cure? While I understand in our culture today it is seen as….wrong…for a woman to be soft. Man or woman…are we sure that’s a good thing? Being hard all the time?

My goal this week, and for the next several weeks, is to continue to be open to change. To be soft. To expand.

Do you need to be soft too?

TODAY I LOVE: the color green…it’s everywhere right now
SONG OF THE DAY: “Love Me Anyway” by P!nk

2018…let it go (queue Elsa.)

I’m typing this post in the throws of a massive cold/flu/grossest junk EVER mess. ¬†Knowing that, it’s safe for me to say that 2018 can just keep on trucking right out the door. ¬†HOWEVER…this year was one I won’t forget: the good, the bad, and what’s to come…

Let’s start off with the bad and just get it out of the way. ¬†If I had to sum up the year in two words they would be stress and emotion. ¬†I had so much of both. ¬†The year started right off the bat with my first kitty baby, Callie, passing away. ¬†She lived with Ryan after we divorced but it was so sad to let her go. ¬†She was one more piece of my old life that disappeared. ¬†My ex-husband got remarried and that effected me more than I ever thought possible. ¬†It was the sense of loss all over again. ¬†I was knocked down again when I found out they are expecting a baby. ¬†I’m happy for them, I mean that sincerely, but it’s just….so weird. ¬†Onward…my cat got very, very sick (his bladder blocked and ruptured) and that was a stressful, time-consuming, and VERY costly months of recovery. ¬† I moved. ¬†It was a great move and I’m SO HAPPY I did it, but still. ¬†New place, new roommate, packing and unpacking…not fun, expensive, and stressful. ¬†Alright, now take all of that and add abnormally high work stress. ¬†Oh, and I gained back all the weight I lost in 2017. ¬†BAM! ¬†2018 in a nutshell.

If I left it at that you would think the year was total crap, right? ¬†It’s a good thing I had a lot of happies too. ¬†ūüôā

I hired a fantastic gal from Louisiana to work for me and she’s been phenomenal. ¬†With her help, we had an exceptional audit this month. ¬†I’m excited for the new projects we can tackle this coming year. ¬†I have a roommate! ¬†It’s been such a nice treat having someone to come home to and share life with everyday. ¬†We’ve went on on several girl trips this year; a hiking trip in Hot Springs, AR and a weekend jaunt to South Bend, IN and Mackinac Island, MI! ¬†I cannot tell you how much I loved Mackinac Island. ¬†It’s a must-see for anyone looking for a beautiful and unique place to visit. ¬†Lastly, one of my biggest happies, I spent 3 weeks in Kauai with my fella and his family. ¬†Whoa, what a HUGE blessing. ¬†I’m convinced there isn’t a more beautiful place on earth.

So.  2018 all wrapped up in two paragraphs.  Boiling down your year into small sentences is harder than you think.  Crazily enough, the year felt like it went that fast.  Two paragraphs worth.

What do I want for 2019? I don’t really like to do resolutions; I prefer goals. ¬†Kinda. ¬†Here are my hopes/goals for the year to come:

  • Consistency & Discipline. ¬†I let stress and emotion (see above) control a lot of my life this year. ¬†I let it control my actions. ¬†I let it control my mood. ¬†I let it control my health. ¬†I need to change that this year.
  • Intentionality with my Health. ¬†If I follow my goal above, my health will fall in line too. ¬†Diet, exercise, skincare, stress-management, and emotional well-being will all be better if I can be intentional, consistent, and disciplined with the tools I have to work with. ¬†I know what to do. ¬†I just need to do it.
  • Strengthen my faith. ¬†I don’t think I need to explain that one. ¬†ūüôā
  • Payoff at least one loan. ¬†Money is tight for me now as 2018 was a huge drain on EVERYTHING. ¬†I need to be budget focused and paying off one loan would be a great ¬†snowball for that.
  • Find my happy. ¬†Whatever that might be.
  • Beat (or at least make it to) the end of one video game. ¬†Ok, this one is silly, but still. ¬†I’ve gotta get to the end of at least one.

 

Let’s do this 2019.

movie night facials

ACS_0136
Pre-Christopher Robin cries

It has been a long hot minute since I wrote last (literally hot Рsummer in Missouri is gross.)  So much has happened! George and I moved to the cool (not literally Рit is still hot) side of town!

It has really been the best thing for us. ¬†My old apartment itself was really great. ¬†It was not, however, in a great part of town. ¬†I never wanted to walk outside and everything was a drive away. ¬†Now I’m renting a house with my best friend in an old established part of town. ¬†This little gem of a neighborhood is right smack in the middle of all the good parts of my area. ¬†All the houses are older and have their own character and the trees are numerous and enormous.

It has been three weeks in the new place and I’d have to say we are developing a pretty good rhythm between me, George, and Ash. ¬†I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m LOVING it. ¬†We go to the gym every morning (same as usual) but now when we get back home we either run or walk the neighborhood. ¬†We go walking every evening. ¬†We have a Sunday night tradition of a movie and facials. ¬†Although we haven’t meant to do it intentionally, at least one night a week we cook dinner together. ¬†We seem to mesh well in knowing when each other needs some space and our equal love/need of tidiness works VERY well. ¬†And George, well, he’s adapting. ¬†ūüôā

Last night we had a girl’s night of happy hour foodies at a local artisan place and watching Christopher Robin on the big screen. ¬†Even though I know for certain I ugly cried every single time Pooh was on the screen, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. ¬†The movie was so cute and really struck me with how much we do change when we grow up. ¬†We miss the little things.

As Pooh says, “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” ¬†I totally agree.

TODAY I LOVE: celery and peanut butter.  Ok, I really just love peanut butter a whole lot.

 

someone has turned on the lights.

7N5A6146My grandmother just had cataract surgery in both of her eyes. ¬†After she got out of the surgery she immediately said, “It is like someone has turned on all the lights!” ¬†I love that. ¬†It is also how I feel right now. ¬†Now that the emotional and dark cloud of April has passed, now that I’ve mostly dealt with lingering emotional baggage, it’s as if someone has turned on all the lights. ¬†Everything is brighter. ¬†Everything is blooming. ¬†Everything has possibility.

Before I move on to new things, I’d be remiss to not thank my dear, dear friends for getting me through a dark period. ¬†I won’t list them; you know who you are. ¬†They diligently tried to keep me focused, always tried to keep me smiling, and became the master of distractions when I needed it. ¬†April was just HARD. ¬†A lot of things that I’d apparently buried and kept swallowed since the divorce resurfaced and I had to deal with them. ¬†I know it had to be frustrating for everyone in my life. ¬†I’m sure you all were asking yourselves the question, “WHY WON’T SHE JUST GET OVER IT AND MOVE ON IT. IS. THE. PAST?!” ¬†Yeah well, I asked myself the same thing. ¬†So there. ¬†But I’m happy to report I’m in a much better place right now.

I have so much to look forward to the remainder of this year! I’m moving into a cute house in a great old neighborhood with my bestie soul sister. ¬†I’m going to Kauai with my fella and his family. ¬†Plus lots of work stuff (that I could turn into very stressful things but I’m going to choose to see it as opportunities to make myself even more awesome.) ¬†<- (Remind me about this statement later on in the year when I’m so stressed I can’t think straight.)

Lastly, as you’ve probably figured out from the last several months I WANTED to be super dedicated to my diet and fitness but I just…haven’t. ¬†It’s embarrassing to say it but it’s true. ¬†I’ve gained back a bit of what I lost last year and I’ve let emotions (see above) rule me for far too long this year. ¬†Today started a new attack. ¬†I’ve got 113 days until Kauai. ¬†That, my friends, is a challenge I’m ready to pounce on. ¬†I think I’ve finally regained the inner motivation and discipline I had the entirety of last year. ¬†It is the only way this is going to work; no one can do it for me. ¬†I’m goal driven and 113 days is an ending within sight. ¬†I won’t make any promises right now because I’m sure you’re all thinking, “Sarah, you’ve said all these things before.” ¬†True. ¬†Just watch and see. ¬†If Kauai wasn’t enough motivation I’m moving in with my friend and that means ANOTHER CLOSET OF CLOTHES. ¬†I’m going to fit into her clothes if it kills me.

Happies.  Goals.  New environments.  Smiles.  Sunny weather.  Pretty flowers.

Someone has turned on the lights.

TODAY I LOVE: the color they painted on my toes last week…it’s called cerulean sea

Climbing again

It is Friday night and I’m sitting here on my sofa, having a cup of sleepy tea, and watching Grace & Frankie (again) on the TV. (Side note: I’m SO excited for Season 4 which comes out next week.) ANYWAY. I got off work this afternoon and came home and deep cleaned my living room. I tore down the Christmas tree and all the decorations. I moved all the furniture and vacuumed. I bought a lamp (also random.) All that to say, I’m super content in this spot, right this second. Which puts me in a good place to talk about something that I’m not happy about: my fitness.

A week before Christmas I messed up my back. It was AWFUL. I’m too embarrassed to say what I did, but it was a dumb thing and I’ve LEARNED MY LESSON. ANYWAY. I couldn’t bend my spine at all. I couldn’t even sit. I could only lay flat or be in terrible pain. So needless to say my workouts were not fabulous. And then I went home to my family for Christmas. And then I went to California for 2 weeks to be with my fella. My butt has not been in a gym for 3 WEEKS. It’s embarrassing. And I didn’t follow my macros over the holidays either. I wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t perfect.

Confession: I’m absolutely terrified to step on the scale. (I’m not stepping on the scale until Monday morning, but still.).

I feel bloated and chunky and lumpy and likely 10 pounds heavier.

So that’s the bad news.

The good news? I can fix it. I can fix all of it. You know why? Because last year I learned how. I can’t tell you how much that reassures me that this is all going to be fine. This year when I’m looking at my fitness and health journey it is totally different than last year. It’s kind of like carving an ice sculpture. When you get started you have to take off a whole bunch of the bulk before you can even start to shape what you’re really trying to carve. 2017 was getting rid of the excess for me. In 2018 I get to sculpt something fantastic. Isn’t that wonderful!?

I admit, I don’t like that it feels I’m starting this year behind. But you know what? I had a great Christmas and New Years and California dreams. The rest let my back heal. I just…lived for a while. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Even if it does feel like I’m starting in a deficit. Whatever I’ve gained will come back off. I’ve proven I can do it.

So with that said…tomorrow I go back to the gym with my best girl. Good things to come.

TODAY I LOVE: my Filimin lantern