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.

3-day Weekend Fun!

School hasn’t even been back on for very long, but this three-day weekend was still welcome!

Things have been going really well. Andras and I have stuck to the Whole30. Tomorrow will be day 18! We’ve even started discussing what next month will be like. As of tonight we’re thinking we’ll keep excluding grains, soy and legumes, because we really don’t miss them, but add back in dairy (only as a seasoning), wine for me, beer for him, and a weekly cheat day. I’m finally seeing changes in my body, and it feels really good! I can’t wait to share how much I’ve lost. I’ve also noticed my skin seems much healthier, and I think I have more energy. Win!

I started two new things last week as well. #1. No coffee. GASP :0 But, I’m just too prone to anxiety, there’s really no need for it. And as long as I get 7 hours of sleep – enter item #2 – I think I’ll be fine. The first two days of trying life without coffee were welcomed with the worst headaches. By day 3, I didn’t have a headache, but I just feel sooo tired, and by day 4 I started coming out of the fog.

Work is work –  I’ve had some great days back, and some awful days back, but my routines are making everything more manageable, logistically and emotionally. My goal for the next few weeks is to be very conscious of how much I have on my plate, and to not take on too much.

Andras and I went on two movie dates this weekend. We saw Carol on Friday, and Anamolisa today. Carol was slow but beautiful, and I definitely cried. Anamolisa was really unusual, but 100% engaging, thoughtful, and many times comedic.

Obviously, I think I’ve missed too many days to get you caught up on all of my Whole30 meals, but I’ll list some of my favorites here:

http://www.generationyfoodie.com/2013/06/paleo-almond-chicken-fingers.html

Easy Roasted Vegetables + Amazing Giveaway

http://www.thetwobiteclub.com/2014/05/kielbasa-pepper-onion-and-potato-hash.html?m=1

Oven Baked Crispy Chicken Thighs with Garlic, Lemon and Scallion

Days 22-23 and #Whole30 Buffalo Ranch Chicken Meatballs

And here are a couple of pictures:

almond crusted chicken tenders

Almond crusted chicken tenders with roasted carrots and boiled dutch potatoes.

buffalo ranch meatballs

Buffalo ranch meatballs over spinach and arugula mix with roasted potatoes, carrots and eggplant. Mmmm SO delicious.

I’m really grateful to have so much space in my life right now to take care of myself, and work on these routines that make room for so much more joy in my life. 2016 is getting off to a pretty fantastic start for me, but I’ll still love myself when things don’t go my way, or when I do things I’m not proud off. Be back soon!

The Return

Things don’t have to perfect. Tonight, as I start to plan for the new semester, that is my mantra, because whoa – hello anxiety! Now that I’m planning things, and realizing how soon I go back to school, my heart feels like it’s racing, my thoughts are unfocused, and I’m even having chest pains. No fun.

Some of what I’ve done this break is explore other career options. I’m going through the book, “I Would Do Anything if Only I knew What it Was.” I haven’t found fulfillment in my work in quite some time, so I think it’s time that I start exploring other options. Part of that exploration, is also trying to find the root of why I don’t enjoy my job anymore. In talking with my therapist about this issue, we’ve discussed that one possibility is that my happiness in life actually depends on how well I do my job. I am way to attached to my success at my job. Times like this, when the anxiety sinks in, I think it’s possible that the attachment is 100% of my problem with work.

I wish I could just be excited by new ideas, rather than overwhelmed by them. I tired a couple of things to attempt to relieve the pressure. I looked at all of my events for the rest of the semester, and made lists of everything that needs to be done regarding each event. I thought if I got the tasks out of my mind, and onto paper, it would help. I did a little.

My next idea was to plan the first week of school, and that’s what I just couldn’t do. Tonight, it feels like too much. I put it on my list for tomorrow, in hopes that would put it out of my mind for tonight, but my loving friend Anxiety is here to stay, I think. Actually, I just made the list a little more specific, so I do feel a little bit relieved.

The first week doesn’t have to be perfect. The whole semester doesn’t have to perfect. In fact, I don’t even have to be a good teacher in order to be the wonderful, perfect person that I am, just the way I am.

Cheers to letting myself be my imperfect perfect self. 😀

I Have Thought of You Often

It’s been a really long time – almost (or more than) a month, I think.

Loving work is a dangerous thing. I’m not complaining! I am SO happy that I’m excited (although admittedly tired) every morning when I wake up to go in to work. But, this is what happened my second year teaching as well: I love it so much, want so desperately for everything to go as well as it can, that I work really long hours, and even sometimes bring work home with me.

Part of me is saying, “But it’s the beginning of the year! Get started off right!” And another part of me is saying, “Danger!” I can feel it happening, the awful phenomenon when I’m in a non-school setting, but all I can talk about is school. I literally can’t think of anything else.

The other downside is that when I get like this, work seems to be my top priority, so everything else starts to fall to the wayside. Diet? What’s that! Sleep? Who needs it? Yoga…. My blog? Oh, that was a lot of fun…

*Sigh* So, I’m a little worried. My routines are not going as smoothly as they were either. (Outside of work, anyway. There it is again!)

The nice thing is, I feel good. I feel confident. I have energy. I’m being productive. I want work to go well, but I don’t want to lose sight of everything else.

This week I will remember that although success at work is fun, it’s not the most important thing. All the other life stuff will catch up to me, and it will seriously weigh everything else down if I don’t keep on top of it.

Back to my points. Back to my routines. Back to feeding me and not just Ms. Choir.