Tag Archives: mental health

Oh, the silence!

It’s the day after Christmas and we can all begin to breathe again!

Since I had done so much preparation for the holidays before Thanksgiving even hit, I felt I was immune to a lot of the holiday stress people around me were experiencing. I felt busy enough with two holiday work events and three family parties in December; I can’t imagine trying to fit in the holiday shopping. I did what I could for people this year and didn’t go overboard. Also, everyone got a little something handmade by me – whether it was from my garden or something I physically created. I felt really good about gifting those things.

Although earlier this month I said December was going to be a “no spend” month when it comes to buying things for me, I failed. At a craft show I bought myself a handmade quartz ring and coat hooks for our home; two really nice fountain pens on Amazon, AND…right on Christmas day, I treated myself to a glass cutter.

I’m SUPER eager to give glass cutting another go, with hopes to expand into glass drilling, glass etching, etc. I’m ready to learn new things and expand Weird Glass Art Studio’s horizons into more than just table-top home décor.

To praise the good, my extra purchases only set me back approximately $100 AND I put away nearly $600 into my savings. Not too shabby.

My next project is a set of these:

80262626_1168932263506539_2166517044680327168_n

Please excuse our nasty stove; we’re hoping to limp along with it until we’re ready to re-do our kitchen.

I got these pretty wax battery powered candles from my mother-in-law as part of my Christmas gift. I’ve always liked taper candles but I don’t currently have holders for them. My first thought was to put them in wine bottles but the candles are just a bit too wide for them. I then tested one out in this vodka bottle and BINGO. It fits perfectly! The fun part is that I have a matching set of these bottles, too.

So consider this my “before” shot of the candle stick holders I will be making for my household out of recycled vodka bottles.

Now that the holiday is over with, I feel like I can begin to settle back into my routine again. I’m looking forward to creating and simplifying my life for 2020. I’m going to enjoy the silence immediately following this holiday (I am enjoying it already!). I’m also going to listen to the silence of others because sometimes that says more than words can express. I’ve spent too much of my life worrying about how I vibe with others personally and professionally and trying to keep things copacetic. Part of simplifying my life is letting things be and not taking it upon myself to mend fences or continue to make sure they’re all in good working order. It isn’t always my job and I can’t let it continue to add to my anxiety.

The underlying issues.

In a half hour, I’ll be preparing for my first Peloton bike class ~ I am all squared away with the app, the shoes, the heart rate monitor and headphones (all thanks to my wife).

I’ve been looking forward to this since it arrived this morning! Meanwhile, I have my laundry in the washing machine, I ordered a roll of burlap to cut my own table covers for the craft show at the end of the month (because it’s cheaper that way and I’ll have material leftover to do whatever I want with), I shipped a small item I sold on Mercari, and I’m hugging and kissing my dog. It seems like a win/win evening so far for me – no stress.

Since my blog post on Monday, I’ve been thinking to myself that maybe all along I’ve been going about this fitness thing wrong. I don’t mean all wrong lately but for years. If I’m really honest with myself – and I do try to be – when I first started my fitness journey about 10 years ago, I wasn’t in a good space. I was drinking too much, I didn’t treat myself well, I was forcing and pushing a relationship that really wasn’t meant to be in some kind of shape. The exercising and the eventual obtaining of a personal training certification did help boost my confidence and allow me to step forward on a better foot…

But when I left that gym – as a member and an employee – it didn’t feel like it went over well. I doubted myself, my abilities, and my relationships with others. I threw myself into another gym and created a reputation and a public persona for myself. A caricature. I remember feeling like I could conquer anything and do it all! But underneath all of that though, I did, and still do, question my likability and relate-ability as a person. When people didn’t turn out as loyal as I thought they were and did and said things that hurt me, it made it hard to believe that anything was truly real.

I do question my own value and my purpose in life. Every day.

I have a really hard time opening up to others past a superficial point.

2-Will-be-Strong-Motivation-Meme

It’s tough for me to make new friends and to have normal conversations, even fluffy ones with co-workers. Maybe they don’t see or feel that – they just take it as awkwardness (which is may be, too) but it legit takes work for me to have a conversation that lasts more than a couple of sentences. I begin wondering how my tone is coming across, if what I’m saying is even interesting to the other person, what I could say that could be used against me in the future…omg how can I get out of this conversation I’m ready to go sit in my office and be alone…

It’s fucking insane.

When I was in the best shape of my life working as a kickboxing instructor, all I thought about was working out and what I ate. What my employees thought of me. How tired I was and how much I worked at the gym and at home. Who was talking about me behind my back because I knew it was happening. That’s a gym atmosphere for you – everyone acts like they are there to lift each other up but when, really, it’s a lot of cutting others down to feel better about yourself. (Note: Last year I worked a few months in another kickboxing gym and this was not my experience there. That was single handedly the most positive gym experience I’ve ever had and it’s too bad that my schedule made me feel like it was too tight to continue my employment there.) Then I got super skinny because I was stressed over my divorce and the death of my dog…I was over-caffeinated, under-rested and overall just not in a good place mentally but felt I looked awesome physically. I just could not keep up that pace without checking myself into a mental institution at some point.

A few years later and now I’m in average (or even above-average) shape and I still don’t feel like I’m mentally up to snuff. I’ve been off and on again beating myself for not staying in the exact same shape as I was when I was an instructor. I have been telling myself to be more careful with what I eat, go to the gym more…without really addressing any of my underlying issues that have been plaguing me over the years – whether they’ve been in the forefront or temporarily forgotten. What I’m saying is I keep telling myself that if I am “this way” or “that way” – I’ll feel different than I do right now. I’ll be happier and healthier, physically and mentally. Sheeiiit…all my problems will be solved, right?!

But that’s a crock of shit. The problem isn’t my body or any sort of my physical shape (which I quite like, actually! I like the curvier version of me!) – it’s the mindset I have about how others perceive me. Without changing the nagging things in my brain, without some sort of reset button being flicked, how am I going to really feel better and keep that positive momentum going? No amount of workouts will fix that or build a truly better me.

I don’t have the answers but I’d like to think that simply becoming aware of it is a step in the right direction. I think that, basically, I need to learn to love myself instead of telling myself and the world that I do, but not treating myself and talking to myself like I really do.

So, anyway, to wrap this up ~ I did go to my hot yoga class on Monday and it was excellent, despite the dude next to me coughing much of the class. I got sweaty, stretched, and overall celebrated myself for that entire hour, except for a few moments where I felt like my fat rolls were getting in the way of stretching. I love how during hot yoga, I can’t really think of anything else but what’s happening right in that moment. I’m too busy trying not to die but it’s honestly just such a nice break from to-do lists, reliving moments of the day (amazing and not-so-amazing), and nursing frustrated emotions.

Onwards and upwards.

 

 

 

 

Filling my own cup and taking it down a notch or two.

I parented much of this weekend, after having a busy week at work (more on that later) and parenting after work. It was another week where I didn’t make it to the gym for any formal workout, although I was not altogether inactive. I went for walks, I went for a bike ride, and played a short soccer scrimmage with Emma’s soccer team. But I really felt like I had fallen off the workout wagon this week after having a week similar only a short time ago. Every once in a while I have a week where I’m like “Eh, I just wanna go home”…so I do.

The thing is that I rely on structured exercise routines for my mental health. I don’t have any specific fitness goals, so when people are talking about theirs I don’t really have anything to chime in with. I just want to stay healthy, active, and feel strong. I normally feel all of those things until it’s the end of the “Ehhhh” week. At the end of a week of not going to the gym, I feel like I’m flabby, weak, heavy and tired.

This week I just felt off the entire time. The pace right now at work isn’t one I can keep up with and feel good about its quality. It’s been extremely busy and I have been letting it zap my energy and keep me from going to my HIIT classes. My HIIT classes are also fast-paced and I have been craving a slower pace. I realized this weekend that this go, go, go mentality is not good for my mental health. I mean, I already knew this but this pace is what seems like the entire world is running on. My mental health has suffered with the busy-ness of my life this season and maybe these HIIT classes aren’t what I am meant to focus on right now. Maybe I need something more restorative and less aggressive.

So, starting tomorrow I am going back to hot yoga. I feel good about this decision and am looking forward to it! I believe if I take better care of my mental health that I will feel less overwhelmed with everything else in my life right now.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m just not missing the whatever-it-is that keeps parents moving forward. Maybe I am missing a trait that allows for me to feel able to handle all that adults are expected to in today’s world. I thought about that over the weekend – even wrote about it in my private journal – but I really don’t believe that. I just believe that I am yearning for a less complicated, less busy life because people are not meant to be living under so much pressure. I feel like so many of us are just going along with it but not really questioning it. Like I’m awake and those around me are sleeping.

Or , who knows, maybe I’m a childish dreamer and everyone around me is a mature, capable adult 100% happy with their routines and life stressors. Maybe I need go grow up and put my big girl pants on and deal with it like everyone else does.

I don’t wanna though, to be completely honest. I don’t want to wear my big girl pants if it means that I have to put myself on autopilot to survive the hurried pace.

I go through waves of these feelings of being overwhelmed and under-prepared. I think it is in part because I tend to analyze things, but I also think it’s in part of not being as mindful of making sure my own cup is filled. My cup has been steadily emptying all week and I did not have much time this weekend to fill it back up totally. But the moments I had to myself I did do my best to relax, enjoy the quiet, and at least refill some of it. It’s a work in progress 🙂

My goal over the next several weeks is to find a different fitness routine – one that incorporates a mind/body exercise at minimum once – and then two other days of something that makes my heart pound, whether it’s in a class or on my own. Theresa ordered a Pelodon bike for our basement, plus the gear for the both of us; it arrives this week! We are excited for this for the days when we can’t…or simply don’t want to…go to the gym. I am looking forward to using this on days where I want to exercise but the idea of going to a class and “peopling” seems like too much work. Because that’s how I be sometimes. This bike will remote into a class so we can be a part of it without leaving the house.

I also haven’t made the time to update this blog in a bit and writing has always been cathartic to me. It’s something I shall need to carve out the time for more often!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve [temporarily] run out of things to say!

In the spirit of that, this blog post should be completely blank. It won’t be though. Writing gives me a chance to think through what it is I really want to say ~ much easier than having an on-the-spot discussion.

My anxiety at the beginning of the week was something to behold. My wife asked me if I felt I should talk to someone or go see my doctor because I’ve expressed my extreme anxiety a number of times over the past month. The problem is that I am very resistent to this – not because of feeling any sort of shame or embarassment, I just don’t think it’s time for me to medically address it. I know that I haven’t been taking care of myself the way I should be. My sleep patterns have been interrupted due to too much caffeine, sugar, overall too much not-good-for-me stuff. I haven’t been drinking enough water. All the things combined heighten my anxiety and that impacts sleep and sleep impacts how I feel about everything in life. It’s a cycle.

So to break that, this week I’ve been drinking a LOT of water. I mean a lot. I may as well move my office into the bathroom. I’ve been eating more fruits and veggies. I’ve continued to meditate using the Headspace app. I’ve also been quieter; feeling like I have less to say. I’ve been actively avoiding chatter – responding a bit less to messages and overall just sitting with my own thoughts. It’s nice actually. I’ve felt a bit more peaceful over the past 48 hours.

I also came to realize that maybe not all my wishes need to be goals. Would I truly be satisfied with having my Etsy shop be my main source of income in the future, or would I end up feeling pressured to create? Chained? Unable to get away and take a vacation with my family? Would I ever make enough money to feel comfortable and happy? I honestly don’t know – but these are important things to consider. My first waking thought on Tuesday morning (after a FABULOUS night’s sleep) was: Not every hobby has to be a career path. Not every venture has to be a money-making endeavor. Some things may be meant to be simply fun and expressive. I’ll take that as a sign to keep the pressure off. Not everything has to be actively pressed forward with a sense of urgency. Things move when they move, change when they’re meant to, and stop when it’s time.

Maybe meditation has been helping.

Work isn’t life…yet…we spend so much time thinking and worrying about it.

The thought of coming into work lately has been causing me anxiety. I feel a bit guilty admitting that because my job is great – the work itself and the environment; there’s zero reason for me to be unsatisfied. But, since returning from my honeymoon, I’ve been churning over what’s important in life and what I’m doing to make a difference. (This is what I do – I’m prone to frequent existential crises.)

Others around me have different reasons for their work anxieties – excessive work stress, terrible work environments, unreasonable goals, long hours, no recognition, general job burn out…

work-life-balance-1024x768.jpg

I think I lead a pretty balanced life between work and home. Returning to office life has allowed me to focus more on my family and my hobbies – life outside of work. I don’t talk much about being a paralegal in my spare time. My spare time is just that my time – and I don’t want to cloud up that time with thoughts or conversations about work, if I can help it. I’m usually too busy thinking about crafting, gardening, animals, family, reading, laying in the hammock…not necessarily in that order.

65972481_485532562311226_7557163702282092544_n

My latest addition to my Etsy Shop (can be found HERE).

So why have I been going to bed at night, wishing that I was independently wealthy and able to stay home every day? Because I’m a non-stop dreamer. It’s what I do.

Too many people are working at places they hate because it pays the bills that the stress leaks into their personal lives. Tainting it. Changing it. Sometimes ruining it. Work, career…it’s a part of life but it’s not everything. The balance is out of whack.

Although I’ve had people scoff at me for saying this, but my opinion is that people are not meant to work 40+ hours a week outside the home. It leaves such little time for doing the things that really matter in life – the things that are productive to ourselves, physically and mentally. No wonder so many people (sometimes me, too) are completely overwhelmed; we have families, homes to maintain, obligations, chores…the basic necessities of eating healthy and resting can easily take a back seat when those BASIC THINGS allow us to function well. When did this all happen?

I feel like I need to tie this blog up with some advice or something…not just leave it with a question. I’m not an expert on anything, but here’s my 2 cents when it comes to promoting a healthier work/life balance:

  • Find a job that you like. One that you can leave from and shut off from when you aren’t there. It may take you some time but don’t be afraid to get in the driver’s seat of your life.
  • Live within your means. If your monthly output is $5,000 and you’re only making $3,000…need I say more? Review what you’re spending your money on and see where you can make some changes.
  • Treat yourself with respect. You work hard – don’t treat yourself like garbage. You can’t help others effectively and to your full potential if you are neglectful of yourself.
  • Start a vegetable garden, whether it’s in the ground or in pots. It’s a rewarding hobby that saves some cash and promotes healthier eating.
  • Create more. Whatever that means to you – drawing, painting, sculpting, writing, dancing…I think we are all more creative than we give ourselves credit for and spend too much time comparing our creativity with someone else’s. There’s room for us all to shine at something.
  • REST – it’s okay to not be productive 100% of the time.

 

I’m over Tuesday already.

I hate to damn an entire day, but if I had to damn any day – every single time – it’d be Tuesday.

Mondays I’m usually ready to take on my week. I’m put together and focused. Tuesday arrives and everything just falls out of my hands, spilling on to the floor. Then I will slip in it, fall, and get myself covered in it’s bullshit. Pretty much every Tuesday that’s me – on the floor, rollin’ around in its messiness until it’s time to go to bed. Bed time can’t come too soon.

53212855_351659512101242_2796174222529921024_n.jpg

My Tuesday hero.

Life just feels like it’s beating me down. Between feeling like I am not as useful as I could be or would like to be to my parents, my fiancee (who’s injured insists she doesn’t need my help), our non-argument argument about my dog…I’m feeling sour. Like I want to cry. Like I want to flail about, yell, cry, sleep.

I just don’t feel needed or even particularly wanted, which is an ugly way to feel.

But in reality, it’s just another Tuesday. What’s worse is that Tuesdays usually feel like they are two days long. This day of the week is an exercise in patience, faith, and endurance.

A dissatisfied day.

About midday yesterday, I was called with bad news. Because it involves my mom and dad and because they are private, I can’t really go into detail. Yesterday went from great to suckage though; that I’ll say. But it’s not permanent and nobody is dying.

This morning my alarm went off at 6 a.m., despite being sure I had set it for later. I was able to go back to sleep and woke up naturally in time to make it to my 10:30 hot yoga class. I was happy about that, but much like last Saturday, my day began taking a turn into unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

I wanted to settle into Netflix and a craft project but it became clear that it was going to be a day where nothing would actually be accomplished. Any technique I tried failed. Any vision I tried to put to glass turned out terrible. I found myself walking around in circles, unsure of what to do with myself and my hands, frigid from the cold basement where my craft room is.

How does one shake feelings of unrest and dissatisfaction?

By blogging about it, because we’ve all been there.

By taking another hot shower – a long, pampering one – pretending that it’s a restart to the day. I mean, who cares if it’s after 6 p.m….I’m going to do just that.

Tomorrow’s a fresh day.

Wanna ride on my mood swing?

This has to be one of my favorite memes ever:

Mood-swing-2

I hate feeling out of control with my own mood swings. I know when I’m not myself and there isn’t really anything I can do but ride the wave and know better will come along because it always does.

Christmas Eve I went from fine to terribly sad in the span of around 15 minutes. Nothing monumental happened; all we did was go from one party to another. I found myself in a dark place – feeling like no one cared that I was there or alive. I felt like I was invisible. I was in someone else’s home and I knew very few people there. The hosts were too busy for introductions and the party had already been underway for a couple of hours by the time we arrived. It’s one thing to be a content wallflower, it’s another to feel like a ghost around the vibrantly alive and bustling busy-ness. So I got quiet and very much into my own thoughts, feeling very much like I was in the wrong place at the wrong time – the wrong life at the wrong time.

Because I’m one that needs to be able to pinpoint why I feel the way I do at certain times, I can only contribute it to the chaos of the holidays when it comes to visiting and trying to please everyone, the pressure of trying to get it all done, my medication, PMS, need for sleep, and junk food. I like trying to trace the “why” when it comes to my emotions and reactions in order to try to learn from them; I try to discern patterns and see where I can try to “let go” of either unrealistic expectations of myself or others. But sometimes a good, cleansing cry is needed without the worry of judgment from anyone. So that is what I gave myself when I got home – a good, ugly cry.

After I cleared that all out, Theresa and I put all the gifts under the tree and I had a little fun on Jake’s little electric 4-wheeler. Because that’s what you do when you have kids – you let out whatever it is in private so you don’t scare them and then you get your shit together to make sure they have a nice Christmas.

I personally think my fleece snazzy Christmas pants make my interpretation a little bit better than the original.

In summation, I wonder if sometimes I don’t, if we don’t, try to stifle our emotions in order to appear like we are on an even, steady keel. I don’t know how many times I have heard judgments from people (behind my back, of course!) about how I’m “all over the place” when it comes to my lifestyle and my hobbies. If I’m faced with judgment for those things, you’re damned certain the thought flickers across my mind when I show an emotion that varies from your basic happy or content. I don’t let myself get too involved with perceptions of me but it is a thought that races by when I have a bad day and want to throw a tantrum. Oh, gosh – what will they think of me? Will they think I’m unhinged? 

Who cares. We’re all a bit unhinged – some of us just let it all out and move on, while others hold it in and eventually explode.

 

 

Things change when you get older.

Looking back to, say, 15 years ago (let’s get real, I didn’t get my shit together until I was about 27 or 28) ~ I was loud and probably obnoxious to most people. I wore bright, flashy clothing and sky-high heels. (The more those heels resembled a pair a stripper might wear at work, the better!) I was rude, quite judgmental, and thought I knew everything. Everything about me was loud and screamed ignorance. One of the attorneys at my job, Claude, uses the word “vituperative” and that word not only sounds really awesome, it would be a word that would have accurately described me back in the day when I was apparently determined to be an asshat.

Fast forward ~ I’m 35 now. I’ve noticed some changes in me in the past number of years, especially the last two or three.

48426538_2236358729974896_5062276728282415104_n

I prefer nights in over nights out. I don’t bother with most people beyond politeness. My circle of friends is tight-knit and small; I don’t mess with people who have ulterior motives or who simply speak to me out of convenience. My life is very busy and full but I’ve calmed down so much. My life has been revved up but I feel more at peace. My nails have chilled out, too, for example. I went from doing whatever I could to stand out cosmetically to wanting my personality and my talents speak for me instead.

I don’t need to be the center of attention. Honestly, I’d prefer not to be. I don’t need to carry the weight of a conversation ~ I’m comfortable with silence. I don’t need to force relationships with people and I find myself less emotionally tied up when things don’t go my way. Instead of feeling like I know it all, I feel like the older I get the less I really do know and what right do I have to pass a lot of judgment? I don’t need to always be connected to someone or something. It’s okay to “miss out”. I don’t need to absorb the baggage of another person’s emotional well-being and/or their behavior. I can’t control anyone else; I can only control me.

A place in the background feels honestly perfect. It’s a great spot to grab a bag of popcorn and watch others flit about, figuring their lives out. It’s the perfect spot to see who the loudest person is – because I know from experience – usually the loudest person in the room is the one who feels the most insecure.

‘Bye Feli…Facebook!

A few days ago I deactivated my Facebook account. I deactivated it because I didn’t want to lose Messenger ~ plus, I’m not 100% sure I will be off of Facebook forever. I completely deleted my last account when I changed careers and I wish now I had simply deactivated it; I had a lot of photos on there that I should have been more careful saving.

Live and learn.

I decided to deactivate it for a week, out of frustration, for a few reasons:

The amount of posts simply being shared, as opposed to real updates to people’s lives. I remember the days of Facebook where people wrote statuses about their days – longer than a Twitter post but shorter than a blog. I feel most of the content is just compulsively regurgitated. It just feels like a loss of connection.

If I post a picture of something that I made; something I’m proud of, nobody cares. If I post something fitness or food-related, everyone’s all over it because that’s all everyone talks about now. Self-betterment, fitness goals, their oh-so-amazing lunch salad complete with 1,000 pictures. #Goals #GoalDigger #EatClean #FitLyfe4LyfeForgetCheeseburgers4Evr

Also, the holiday season feels too busy to be mindlessly scrolling during what should be a mental break. If I need a break, why not read a book? Write a blog? Pet my dog?

48380419_1964625813618227_2126950062192852992_n

I mean, he’s a great boy – he deserves all the pets.

I’m not throwing shade at people who are on their journeys to becoming a better them. I do enjoy some fitness posts and I follow some fitness peeps on Instagram because it’s inspiring to me and I like to see people succeed. But I know that my life is so much more than just ONE thing and it feels frustrating to be seen as just ONE thing. To feel a bit pigeon-holed in what I may share on social media that resonates with someone. I’m more than just fitness, more than just crafts, more than just pictures of my adorable dog. I like awkward, difficult conversations about topics that are close to the heart. I like analyzing reactions to situations so I can learn more about myself and those around me. I love to write. I love art. I love choreographed dance routines and cheerleading competitions. I love seeing mountains in the distance because it reminds me of my hometown. I love going to my hometown, although I don’t make it there often. I love feeling nostalgic about things; I love 90’s fashion, vintage jewelry, and second-hand clothing. I’m fascinated with tiny-houses and minimalist lifestyles. I love the idea of making the least amount of an environmental impact as possible. I think the sound of the Battenkill River flowing over the rocks is amazing and the quiet at my friend’s camp on Ragged Lake is like nothing I’ve ever heard before ~ I wish I could bottle it and take it with me.

And nobody cares but me. Facebook has become less about connecting and more about self-advertisement. No thank you. Count me out for the near future so that I can work on forging authentic connections with those around me in real life.