Beginnings, emotions, mental health

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)

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emotions, health, mental health

a weighty perspective

I think if I tried to summarize this blog 5 words it would probably be “Sarah Struggles to Lose Weight.” I’m frankly kind of embarrassed that is what the sum of my thoughts have centered upon. It’s pretty boring too.

Anywho, in light of my recent attempts to shed some of the mental and emotional weight of STRESS AND ANXIETY, I’m making some more changes. This time in regards to how I’m facing my body image and what I’m going to do about it.

I’m not going to blather on about how I see or feel about myself, I mean, if you’ve read this blog for any length of time you know homegirl has issues. As I said in my post earlier, if I can get some other things in my life in alignment, some of the other pieces will just naturally fall into place.

I’m going to admit something publicly to you all that I’ve only recently been admitting to myself. I have become obsessive about the number and the scale and the calories and everyone’s perception of me. And not obsessive in a good way. I’ve been weighing every day to track trends and it just brings me down first thing in the morning. I follow my macros/calories 85% of the time, and that other 15%…I don’t (not intentionally). And those 15% I make myself pay – mentally. I lay in bed after the day is over and beat myself to a pulp over the mistakes I made. It takes all the enjoyment out of what might have been a lovely dinner with my friend. I have single-handedly taken all the joy out of food. I love to bake and I haven’t in ages because WHAT IF I EAT IT AND IT HAS REAL SUGAR AND BUTTER AND CALORIES OH MY. That is no way to live. Not everything in life should be all about the calories and nothing else.

So what am I doing about it? For starters, I’ve taken all the pressure off. Over and over and over again, every single day, I’ve started telling myself that I’m an awesome and lovely human being. And if someone can’t see me for that rather than what I [think] I look like, well bully on them. I’m ok. And I’m great whatever size I am. Do I want to look and feel better? Sure, but it’ll happen. It’s not going to happen as I’ve been going though.

Second, I’ve stopped weighing every day. The last few weeks I’ve done it every few days or so, or honestly when I feel pretty good. While I still care about the number, I’m working harder to just go by feel.

Lastly, the “extras.” You can bet your booty I’ve had things outside of my plan in the 3-weeks that I’ve actively tried to change. The difference is in how I’m treating it. It’s a CONSCIOUS decision, not an impulse on emotions. I’m also letting myself enjoy it.

It’s probably a good thing that I’m the only person that lives in my mind. Because if anyone knew just how much self-talk behavior modification I’m doing, you’d think I was nuts. But it is working. It’s so, so very hard. But it is working.

If any of you are in the same place that I am…hang in there. And let’s chat. Let me tell you that you’re awesome and a lovely human being. And you are WORTHY of joy.

TODAY I LOVE: a brand new blank Moleskine journal…oh the possibilities!
SONG OF THE DAY: “O” by Coldplay

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Beginnings, emotions, health, mental health

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

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emotions, goals, health, mental health

not today

Did everyone watch Game of Thrones on Sunday? One thing I love/hate about social media is that you either love something so much you talk incessantly about it (like me and GoT) or you hate it and you rail on everyone who DOES like it (and you tell everyone about it.) Anyway, I digress, GAME OF THRONES! Man, what an episode. I’m not going to give anything away or really even talk about it. There is one quote/saying that has been around since season 1, and it plays a heavy part in this most recent episode. The quote is this:

“There is only one god, and his name is Death, and there is only one thing we say to Death. Not today.”

Syrio Forel, Game of Thrones

There are about 8 million memes going around with some version of “Not today.” I stole the idea of taping the message to my computer from my twitter friend Amanda (@adocmartin). I’m putting this in front of my face everyday to say “not today” to extra anxiety and stress. It’s my reminder of change and what HAS to change.

I’m trying hard to focus this week on changing my work habits to get a better work/life balance and leave as much of my stress/anxiety in the office as I can. Here are some ideas I’m trying this week:

  • Leaving my desk for lunch. I can’t honestly remember the last time I actually took a lunch. I usually just work right through it. I’m going to attempt to force that break in my day.
  • Ignoring non-important email after I leave and on the weekends. Despite how I’ve trained myself, some things are not essential and can wait. I don’t need to be tied 100% of the time to my email.
  • Planning my agenda for the day first thing when I arrive; the tasks that I desire to accomplish. Even though things change and events happen, I’ll still get things done. This is a change in thinking of just one day chunks of time rather than weeks.

What things do you do to alleviate stress at work?

What do we say to the fire-breathing dragon of stress and anxiety? Not today.

TODAY I LOVE: palomino blackwing pencils
SONG OF THE DAY: “Slow Burn” by Kacey Musgraves

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cat, emotions, health

everything is burning

If you’ve ever been tasked with a whole bunch of responsibilities you’ve probably developed some kind of mechanism to determine what needs to be accomplished first.  I like to use the phrase, “What is the brightest burning fire?” I tackle those first.

Right at this moment it feels like everything in my life is burning.  And I can’t see a way to choose what to focus on.  I’m hoping by writing it out I’ll gain some perspective and find my path.

If you follow me on any social media at all then you know my cat George has been very ill for the last two weeks.  We’ve been in and out of the emergency vet, my vet, and he’s been hospitalized for days.  His bladder ruptured so he had to have emergency surgery.  I have him home now, but that is super challenging too with his treatment.  He’s taking 4 different medications that are all not at the same time.   He needs IV fluids under the skin everyday.  I’ve tried to do it myself the last two days and the attempts were very unsuccessful.  Today I managed to stab myself in the knuckle with his IV needle so now my knuckle is swollen and bruised.  His bladder and urethra are having spasms off and on due to all the trauma, so he leaks urine at times when he’s sleeping.  So I’ve got every piece of furniture covered in plastic and I’m washing blankets twice a day.  I’m not sleeping because I’m watching him.  I haven’t been able to exercise for the last week because I’m taking him back and forth from the emergency vet to the regular vet.

The big project at work that I’ve leading/managing has ran into one delay after another.  None of them have even been remotely my fault, but we are now WEEKS behind.  It was supposed to ready to go-live on Monday (7/2) and we literally just received word just yesterday that I can only now start testing it.  I’ll be lucky if we are ready to go by 8/1 at this point.  I chose the dates for my project with intentionality because other big things follow it.  I have other things in my normal day-to-day job that need to take precedence.  Now I need to do it all, together.  There will be many, many long days ahead with work.

Because I need one more big thing….I’m moving in 3 weeks.  Guess who hasn’t even started packing up her apartment due to all of the above?

George has cost me thousands of dollars I wasn’t expecting (or prepared) to spend.

And lastly, to top it all off, because I have had all this extreme stress and I’m not keeping my body “normal” my heart condition is flaring up.  So I’m dizzy and prone to passing out frequently.

So here is where I am.  How do I manage it all by myself? George comes first, obviously, but how do I keep up all the treatment and such that he needs AND maintain everything I need to do with my job?  I need to be the one doing my packing because I’m weeding things out as I go.  What is the answer?

I’m not writing this post for sympathy or pity.  I’m writing it for clarity.  I need to find a path.  I need to find a way to look at it that I don’t see everything burning.  So.  Without any doubt you can bet as I’m doing some work today that I’ll be doing my normal type-A self…trying to write a flowchart to make all this work.

TODAY I LOVE: Kacey Musgraves’ new album Golden Hour

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Beginnings, divorce, emotions

you know what? not everyday is great.

It’s really easy to only write about happy things.  I like writing about accomplishments.  I get downright giddy sharing a life hack that helped me.  It is not fun, however, exposing the underbelly of emotion.  The emotions that bubble up and catch you unawares.  The emotions that make you crawl into yourself and hide until it’s all better.  Sadly, I’m not being a very authentic person if you only get the good side.

Yesterday was just rough.  For the first time in 3 diligent months I just did NOT care about my macros.  I did fine all day but by the time dinner rolled around I was in such a mood that pretty much said, “Screw it” and ate whatever I wanted.  (Thankfully I don’t really keep much in my apartment.)  I had cleaned my office earlier in the day and in doing so it brought up a lot of emotions and memories.  Other than a few items, I hadn’t changed anything since the divorce.  All in all, I was lonely and sad.  And apparently ate my feelings (they taste like macaroni and cheese among other things.)

Afterwards I felt like such a failure.  That is not a great place to be, nor is it at all healthy mentally.  It was one day; one meal.  Lucky for me, my best girl called me out on these unhealthy thoughts and brought me around.  These days are going to happen.  I’ve got to manage my emotions, anticipate how I need to handle things, and not revert to my old way of stress/emotion management.  Life isn’t going to be easy and these moments are going to happen again.  And that’s ok.

Today, my friend, is a new day.  And that’s ok too.

TODAY I LOVE: opening a new tube of toothpaste (it’s evenly distributed!)

 

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