Tea Instead of Vodka

What an amazing summer it has been. (And Winter & Spring… sorry for not writing more!) For teachers, summer is an essential reset time. Many end up doing plenty of lesson planning, curriculum research, and professional development sessions as well. I still have four weeks to get to all of that. 😉

I felt like I was really due for a break this summer. Last summer, the reality of making the mortgage on my own was starting to set in: I worked three jobs: curriculum writing for the district, tons of voice lessons, and was a section leader in a church choir. I still had a decent amount of down time, but it wasn’t ideal for summer break. Summer of 2015 I spent a lot of time questioning my career choice and almost quit teaching entirely, and my sweet dog Bartley got deathly ill over the Summer of 2014.

This summer has been about countless yoga sessions and dance classes, drinks with friends, a trip to Puerto Vallarta with the boyfriend and his family, bike rides, and so much cooking. There has been an over abundance of joy and relaxation, and I feel so incredibly lucky to have the space for all of the things I love. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’ve worked really hard to minimize the chaos and create space for joy.

The last few days, however, I’ve felt pretty down. I feel like there could be something big that I need to process, some huge ugly cry I need to have or something. Of course this is uncomfortable because I like being content. It’s lovely to be happy, but it isn’t really sustainable in my opinion, although many people think happiness is the goal. For me, contentment is the goal, and right now I don’t feel content. I feel restless, irritable, unmotivated, mildly depressed.

Several things could be the culprit: PMDD – it’s basically hardcore PMS and it’s SUCH a nuisance, but I can’t deny the reality of it – spending the weekend at a family reunion in which I had to see my mother who seems to have completely given up on life, and the fact that I’m still grieving the loss of my marriage. Or perhaps some combination of all three. I’ve also gained weight this summer and I’ve allowed my frustration with that to lead to negative thinking.

With depression, everything feels like it takes too much effort, and the end result won’t be worth it. I’ve never had a debilitating depressive episode, and I don’t even think what I’m experiencing qualifies as depression, it’s more of a depressed mood. But, the fact is for the last three days now, I haven’t had a desire to do anything. I’ve still done what I need to, but it has taken great effort, and the whole time my mind has been full of negative thoughts.

So, tonight I’m choosing hot peppermint tea over my more typical summer drink: ruby red vodka mixed with lime la croix – (so very refreshing!) I’m going to explore these various culprits, but also seek out connection with the people who love & support me – the boyfriend, my dearest cousin, my best friend, and of course the pup – and rely on my most dependable (& therapeutic!) companion: yoga.

There are things in life that I cannot control, like my mom’s current lifestyle and the way my dad chooses to deal with it. I can’t change the fact that my ex-husband hasn’t found the peace and success he deserves. All I want is for these people I care so much about to find their own way to contentment, but their journey is theirs and mine is mine. It’s hard to let go of what I can’t control, but it’s often so necessary. Above all, I want to remember that letting go doesn’t mean I don’t care, so I’ll let go of that guilt as well.

 

 

October is My Mixture-of -Emotions Month

There are so many lovely things about October: The temperature finally dips below 90 degrees (or may be even 80 if we’re lucky!) There are music festivals. Eating out on the patio is actually pleasant. Walking my dog is refreshing rather than a drag. Ok, so most of the lovely things about October have to do with the weather. So be it. 😉

I have a pattern of slipping into a seasonal depression in and around October. It’s actually really common for teachers to start feeling overwhelmed, overworked and beyond exhausted at this time of year. Our start-of-the-year adrenaline has run out, and Winter Break feels unbearably far away.

I think that’s a lot of what causes me to slip this time of year, but my guess is there’s more to it. The change of season reminds me of Autumn in Hungary, where I first met my real self; where I felt challenged but happy, and so incredibly free. It’s also the month before I met my first true love six years ago, and a month before he moved here to be with me five years ago. October is the month that most of my saddest posts were composed (2014), some even remaining private due to their dismal subject matter. And finally, this time last year Andras and I were closing on our house together, starting what seemed like a new chapter in our relationship.

This week, all of the warning signs of depression have been popping up: feeling exhausted most of the time, fantasizing about sleeping, putting off simple tasks due to lack of motivation, not wanting to be social, avoiding exercise, eating poorly, irritability at work, negative thinking, and lack of focus. I really don’t want to get sucked back in. I’ve been enjoy my life so much these last few months. Life is so good.

I plan on getting rest and re-establishing my routines over the next few days. Hopefully that will create space for more a more positive outlook. And I won’t judge myself for feeling this way. It’s happening whether I want it to or not, but I can choose behavior that supports happiness instead.

Back to School!

The first two days back to school have gone really well! Yesterday, before the kids came back, I deep cleaned my classroom which was SO necessary and felt so great to accomplish! Today, all of my classes went really well. I have two new classes, but otherwise, I have all of the same students. I’ve also done an awesome job of sticking to my routines, and sticking to the Whole30. It’s so helpful that my husband, Andras is doing it with me this time.

None of this (short-lived, so far) success is a reflection of me as a person. Sure, I’ve done a good job, and I am proud, but I’m a fantastic person even when I don’t succeed. 🙂 And so are you!

To get you caught up on my Whole30 meals:

Day 3
Breakfast: 4 scrambled eggs with 1 shallot, 1 mini sweet pepper, and 1 clove of garlic. Black coffee.
Lunch: Spinach salad with 1 stalk of celery, 5 cherry tomatoes, and 1 Aidell’s apple/chicken sausage. For dressing, 1 tbs olive oil with sea salt and cracked pepper mixed in.
Dinner: LOOOOOVED this slow cooker recipe for tikka masala! I also made this cauliflower rice, which was super delicious and very rice-like.
Snacks: Leftover rosemary-shallot potatoes from Day 2’s dinner.

Day 4 – kinda bland – first day back at school
Breakfast: Anti-inflammatory Blueberry Smoothie, black coffee
Lunch: Uncured salami, 1 boiled egg, 2 clementines, 6 oz unsweetened applesauce
Dinner: Leftovers
Snacks throughout the day: 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds, 1 banana, 1/4 raisons, 1 Aidell’s apple/chicken sausage, 1 clementine.

Day 5 – very similar except for Dinner
Breakfast: Anti-inflammatory Blueberry Smoothie, black coffee
Lunch: Uncured salami, 1 boiled egg, 2 clementines, 6 oz unsweetened applesauce
Dinner: Pork chops with garlic powder, salt, fresh rosemary, thyme and sage. Mashed potatoes (unpeeled) with shallots and garlic, and ginger green beans.
Snacks: 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds, 1 banana and, 1/4 cup raisons, 1/4 cup raw almonds.

My goal is to up the protein, and lower the carbs and sugar these next few days.

Excuse any typos! I’m trying to get to bed as close to 10 as possible… The 5 AM wake up call hurts!

 

 

January Blues

I’m struggling to enjoy my final moments of break. It’s been a really great break. It has been so much fun spending hours on end with Andras, watching ER (yeah! You read that right!), walking Bartley, and now cooking, as we’ve taken on the Whole30 challenge together.

Day 2 Menu
Breakfast Snack: Anti-inflammatory Blueberry Smoothie 
Brunch: 2 scrambled eggs, strawberries & blueberries, sausage, hash browns, black coffee.
Snack: Salami

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Dinner: Salt & Pepper Shrimp. It  was INCREDIBLE! You can find the recipe here

Dinner continued: For the mashed potatoes, we added one shallot, 1 T of fresh rosemary, and 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk. Mmm! It all turned out really well, and was very easy!
Snack: Strawberries

But, back to the fun stuff – January Blues. 😀 I guess I’m just getting caught up with thoughts about the impending back-to-school stress fest, rather than living in the moment. I think it would help some if I did some lesson planning early in the day tomorrow. I am beyond grateful that Monday is a professional development day, and our administrators are actually giving us the majority of the day for prep.

Goals for tomorrow: Sleep in. Yoga. Plan. Breathe. Eat Well.

Good night!

Whole30 – Day 1

Yesterday marked the first day of my second Whole30! I’m so excited. I completed my first whole30 November/December 2014. I lost 14 pounds, and managed to stay away from added sugar, grains, and dairy for about three additional months! However, when I started slipping, I slipped fast. The goal this time around (after completion), is to bring the food groups back in more consciously, and possibly leave some of them out for good. Here’s how Day 1 went:

Whole30Day1

Breakfast: 3 scrambled eggs with 1 shallot, a clove or garlic, and a mini sweet pepper. Black coffee.

Whole30Day2

Lunch: Uncured pepperoni, 4 clementines, 1 celery stalk, and homemade almond butter.

Oh, and I forgot to take a picture, but we had this One Pot Mexican Stir Fry for dinner. It was really tasty, but VERY spicy. I definitely had some almond milk on the side to try to help with the burn!

I also had 2 more clementines as a late night snack! Day 1 = success.

 

Ready to Detox

Wow, as you can tell from my last few posts, I have thoroughly enjoyed indulging in deliciously rich, sweet and savory foods these last few days! Mmm those mini apple pies were SO tasty! And, here’s the recipe I used for mashed potatoes today – so good!

Tomorrow is going to be a day of detox, for sure. My brother gave me a fancy blender for Christmas, so I’m going to try that out first thing in the AM. This will be my breakfast, except I’ll use almond butter in place of the protein powder.

Lunch will be an Aidell’s chicken apple sausage link, with a smaller serving of leftover potatoes, and mandarin oranges. Finally, we’ll have these pork chops for dinner with a side or sautéed green beans or broccoli. My snacks will be cottage cheese, and Skinny Pop.

And if I do a good job of sticking to all of that, I’ll have a mini apple pie at the end of the day! 🙂

Sunday is the Family Reunion, and I plan to indulge again.

Monday = Day 1 of my second Whole30. Let the detox begin.

There is more to me than food! That just appears to be the theme of my winter break so far.

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#teachersonbreak

 

Back to school – Back to work

I had no idea the transition back to school would go so well! I am SO excited about this school year. My classes are full of kids who are truly excited to take choir, and my schedule is basically a dream. My conference period is the last period of everyday, which is going to help me immensely when I have concerts or events after school. 

It’s only day 3, but here are some changes I’ve made that I hope will turn into habits. My points need to be modified some…

  • Establish a morning routine: In past years, I’ve let my level of exhaustion determine how long I sleep, if I pack a lunch, etc. Because I didn’t have a routine, my basic needs like breakfast, lunch, coffee, shower, work outfit, etc, where often not met. Now I am aiming to do the same thing every morning, to establish a foundation for my day. 1. Quiet time 2. Take care of Bartley 3. Breakfast/make lunch (put previously divided sandwich bags and tupperwares in my lunchbox) 4. Show/get ready 5. Leave by 6:30. Of course, in order to do that, I have to wake up at 5:15 (OUCH!) Which leads me to…
  • Being in bed by 10:00, electronics & lights off by 10:30. This gives me almost 7 hours of sleep. 
  • Organizing has turned into a “10-minute” clean. I love this idea. I found it on pinterest, and it’s almost ridiculously easy. You just set a timer for 10 minutes, and clean as much as you can during that time. The craziest part? I’m usually finished in 7 or 8 minutes! All these years I’ve dreaded cleaning, and it was something I could accomplish in 10 minutes or less. Insane!
  • Before I leave work at the end of the day, I go through this checklist: Clear desk, check/respond/archive emails, make necessary phone calls, complete or review the next days lesson plans, add to the next day’s to-do list, and 10-minute clean of my classroom. 

I am feeling so optimistic about these changes. These, along with eating well and daily yoga/meditation are my current “points.” If I can build them into habits, I know I will become the organized professional I want to be.

Let my inner virgo shine!