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.

A Good Day

I’m happy to report that today was a good day. I had a good session with my therapist yesterday. I definitely have a lot of work to do in order to get back on track and start feeling better, but at least I’m energized from talking to her.  She gave me some homework:

  1. Go to one yoga class this week.
  2. Walk 25 minutes 3x this week

One of the things she said in our last session, was that the motivation comes after.  This really clicked with me, because it definitely happens a lot that I just can’t get started, but then once I do one thing, I feel so successful that it motivates me to do more.

So why was today a good day? I actually made a to-do list, and accomplished several of the tasks. A friend asked me out to happy hour. That just made my day. I think I’ve actually become quite lonely.

Also, some of my students made me a build-a-bear and presented it to me in class! I’ve been given a lot of sweet presents since I started teaching, but this one really got me today. I just couldn’t believe they took their own time and money to do something so nice for me, and all because they know I’m having a rough time getting ready to move – again.

Let’s see, there’s more! When I got home from work, I took Bartley on a long walk, so I got one 25 minute walk in. Then, I made my lunch for the rest of the week, before going out for drinks with my friend. Have you heard of Whole30? Maybe I’m setting myself up for failure because I’m taking on such a difficult task right now when I’m struggling to do the minimum, or maybe it’s just the structure I need in order to get some sort of foundation back in my life, but either way, I’m planning to start tomorrow.

After drinks, I came back and made my breakfast for the week. Here’s the website about the Whole30. It’s seems like a great program, and the best thing is, you can get all of the info you need without spending any money. 🙂 It’s basically a 30-day Paleo challenge. I’ve been eating terribly for the majority of the last few years now. It’s a vicious cycle of indulgence followed by guilt and negative self-talk. According to a lot of testimonials, eating Paleo for thirty days can help break those habits, and actually halt the cravings for foods that aren’t good for us. So, I studied up on it, went grocery shopping and took my starting weight: 151. I start tomorrow!

Here’s my breakfast for the rest of the week. It’s my variation on this recipe. The sausage I got isn’t actually paleo (added sugar), so I couldn’t use it, and I got yellow squash instead of zucchini. 

It’s nice to know that I did a few things to be proud of today. I definitely had trouble connecting with my friend, mostly because I didn’t want to talk about how I’ve been feeling down lately. I just wanted to enjoy the time with her. However, I might have felt more comfortable if I’d just got it out in the open.

It’s way past bed time.  Thanks for listening to my ramblings. I really do appreciate it. 🙂