What Exactly is Wrong?

Well, before we go down that road, let me tell you something I’m very proud of! I lost 14 pounds while on the Whole30 challenge! I also built some great habits, such as shopping and cooking for myself, and staying away from processed foods. Yay! Since I completed the challenge, I’ve gained 3 pounds back, and I’ve realized that I just don’t do well without a lot of restrictions. So, I think paleo is the way for me! Now, just gotta get through the holidays, as paleo as possible, and sprinkling in exercis!

So what’s wrong? I sort of want to make a Throw-Up list of everything that’s wrong, but I don’t feel quite ready for that. Here are the symptoms:
1. Depression
2. Anxiety
3. Frequent mood fluctuations
4. Lack of motivation at work
5. Lack of motivation to be social
6. Feeling unable to connect with others
7. Feeling overwhelmed and unable to focus.

These things are not my constant state of being. In fact, for the last few days, I’ve been feeling pretty good (I’m on Winter Break – go figure!) Here are some break-throughs I’ve had with my therapist lately.

  1. Maybe I just don’t like my job. Maybe I feel too much of a financial burden, that I resent my job, because my job pays the bills. Maybe if I didn’t hold so much responsibility (aka STRESS) at home, stress at work wouldn’t be such a big deal. I got a book: I Could Do Anything if Only I Knew What it Was, and plan to dive into it a lot this break, and let thoughts of alternative occupations percolate a bit. This is a HUGE step for me. I am very skilled at what I do, and have spent many years working towards this career. The thought of walking away is mide-boggeling, but at the same time, something isn’t quite right the way things are. I spend too many days not excited at all about going to work.
    2. Negative self-talk & attachment to success are leading to my fluctuating moods. Basically, I wake up in the morning, and see everything ahead of me, and I tell myself, “I won’t be able to do it all, I’m sure I’ll forget something, I don’t even want to face the day, etc., etc.” But then, a rehearsal goes well and I think, “I’m so good at this! Maybe I do love my job!” And then the lunch break hits, and I’ve forgotten my lunch, so then I think, “What is wrong with me? I’m not even organized enough to remember to pack my own lunch! What happened to my morning routine.” Get the idea? Picking up a book tomorrow that I had a few years ago but loaned to someone: Feeling Good.
    3. Lack of communication with my husband. There are a lot of things regarding my husband and our relationship that I’m disappointed about, and I’m afraid to communicate them to him. I know from watching my parents dysfunctional relationship that if I don’t put the effort in to improve our relationship, things will only get worse, and if I avoid these problems I’m in essence is demonstrating that I’m more afraid of change than I am in love with him. I do love him, and I do want to improve our marriage. In the new year, we need to start couples counseling. I’m not sure he sees the need for this, but I think he’s open to trying it out.

I just went back and re-read all of that and the negative self-talk started up again. “When did I become such a mess?” And then a smile crept up onto my face. Hello! That’s what my 20’s are about! That’s what this blog is about! I am trying to figure this shit out, find out what makes me happy, learn how to save money, understand what hobbies, career(s) give me purpose, inspiration, bring me joy, discover my “chosen” family of friends, and so much more.
My intention during my yoga practice tonight was to send love to myself. I want there to be so much love going from myself to myself, that there isn’t any room for negative self-talk, self-doubt, insecurities.
This will be my daily intention, my yogic intention, throughout all of winter beak – to set a foundation of self-love as I begin all of this exploration.

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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! 

Quick Note

Just a quick note to say that today was not as productive as yesterday. I had a lot of professional development meetings, which meant I kept adding things to my to-do list, but couldn’t ever cross anything off! I did pick the three most important, and completed those tasks this evening. I also did my daily chore, and gave Bart a bath to help fight the skin infection. 

The moral of today’s story? I think I need to add another point to the list: go to sleep at a reasonable hour, specific time to be determined before or during my next post. 

Sleep well! It’s a 2-point day, and if I make through my meditation without falling asleep, I’ll get 3-points. See ya!

What Happens Tomorrow?

I go back to work!

Bartley is stable, so I’m SO grateful that I can go to work without worrying too much.

I was actually quite focused today (for the first time!) and I’m proud of the work I got done. I still have a LONG way to go before my classroom, lesson plans, and mind are ready to go for the school year.

I’m proud that I’m not freaking out too much, even though I’m so far behind. I’ll share some techniques tomorrow, but for now I’ve got to go to sleep! It’s going to be so hard to wake up tomorrow….

Recurring Thought

Don’t expect things to slow down.

That has been the, often too late, response to my whiny, immature, impatient self-talk that occurs when life feels like too much. Which is almost all the time. Especially since all I’m focusing on is – when is ________ going to end?  when is ______ going to get easier?

Well, I’m pretty sure things will get easier and slow down when I choose to see the good along with the bad and when I let myself find peace in the struggle. I can’t let my happiness depend on things going my way. I have to take control.

Bartley is really sick again. We had a rough couple of days with him, wondering if he would be okay. The steriods helped, but soon enough, the skin infection that had been a secondary thing, became the primary concern. He has lost a lot of fur and has pustules and lesions. He’s more lethargic again. However, we had a promising visit to the dermatologist today, and I am hopeful that although it might be a slow journey, we’ll start to see some progress in the next few days.

This is what I’m talking about: I expected a rejeuvenating summer and life had other things in store for me. I’ve spent a lot of time whining about it in my mind, wondering if the school year is going to be just as overwhelming as the last three years, and I just can’t do that anymore.

I need to take control of my life and make it a life I want for myself, not just something I complain about.

Last week was a 19-point week. Not bad…. Considering:

  • Possible points = 35
  • Goal = 25
  • Best yet = 11

So last week was a record! 😀 As I go into this week, I have a new rule – no less than 2 points per day. I’m going to have to increase my expectations if I ever want to explore new points!

Today is a 4-point day. Also, I’ve made slow but steady progress that I feel good about on the bookshelf. I threw out so much stuff, have give-away items in my car, and learned that my next step is to do the same with the bookshelf in the living room.

Until next time. 😉

 

Slipping Away

Summer is slipping away. To people who don’t teach, you’re probably thinking, “Oh don’t you complain about summer ending! At least you get a summer break – that’s a long lost memory to me.”

Yes, one of the only (non-emotional) perks to my job is the summer break. But no matter how hard I tried to explain to you just how essential the time off is, I don’t think you would understand. Please just try to believe me.

I can’t believe two weeks from today will be the night before I go back to work. Did I waste my break? No. But I did spend too much of it working (the month of June I did curriculum writing for the district), and too much of it deprived of me-time (Hungary) and to much of it worrying about my poor, perfect, sweet, sick dog. If given the chance to change the way I spent my summer break, would I? No. (Well, except for Bartley being sick. Of course I would change that.) It’s just unfortunate that these experiences ended up being so draining, and with no break in between.

So I want to play hard and work hard these next two weeks. There are things for school that, if left undone, I will torment myself over for the rest of the school year. But the opposite is true as well: Today I found myself making audible sighing noises by the pool, as I felt the breeze and sun on my skin, and couldn’t believe I’ve deprived myself of that amazing, rejuevenating, liberating feeling for so long.

I’ve been watching Bartley 24/7, practically, ever since we got back. In 10 days, he’s had 8 visits to 3 different veterinary clinics. Throughout it all, his health hasn’t improved, and in fact, it even worsened for a few days. We still don’t even have a diagnosis, although we have some best guesses. I think we’re finally reaching a turning point now that we decided to transfer him to an internist. The poor guy.  I was so proud of myself yesterday when I decided to let go of the veterinarian I’ve trusted for so long because I knew in my heart and mind that she wasn’t helping Bartley anymore.

Bartley is a fighter, and we will get through this, especially now that we have an expert fighting for him as well. He has already survived heart worms and distemper, not to mention the fact that he was rescued from a kill shelter the day he was to be euthanized, and then  was in foster care for a year and a half. The first four times I visited him, he wouldn’t let me pick him up. But he never barked at me – he walked right up to me and sniffed me, and his foster mom was astounded.

During the fifth visit to his foster home, I was walking him around the block, and a loud crash came from a construction site. Bartley tried to run away, and I instinctively scooped him up, and he collapsed into me. From that point on, he knew I was safety, I was his home.

So while working hard and playing hard and collecting points are goals of mine, at the moment, helping him get better is really all that’s on my mind.

A bit much, I know...

A bit much, I know…