The Sassy Pear

Finding my way through my forties

Mental Health Monday — March 26, 2018

Mental Health Monday

Sleep…the final frontier of your day. There are many, many times I have slipped under the covers and given thanks to God for inventing bedtime. A whole entire chunk of time to do nothing but sleep? What a gift!!!

But what if you can’t turn your brain off when it’s time to drift away? It is so frustrating to be lying in bed unable to stop thinking all the thoughts. You can Google “how to shut your brain off at night” and get lots of really good articles, but I thought I’d share some personal tips on how I get my brain to just shut up already.

  1. Cool it down. I make sure my room is cool at night because sleeping in a too-warm room makes me SUPER CRANKY. Seriously, just ask my husband.
  2. Listen to my breathing. Sometimes if I can’t sleep, I can put in earplugs and listen to my own breath – it sort of sounds like waves ebbing and flowing on the shore, which relaxes me enough to finally drift off.
  3. Count sheep. Okay maybe not sheep, but I do count. I usually start at 100 and count backward, then forward again. If I haven’t drifted off by then I will…
  4. Get up and go drink some warm milk. Some warm milk with a little vanilla extract and a bit of sugar is like a hug in a cup. Makes me feel cozy and warm. It may be a myth that warm milk helps you sleep, but for me it breaks the pattern of trying to toss and turn my way to sleep and gives me a chance to reset my brain.
  5. Play mindfulness games. This one works for me when nothing else will. I go through the alphabet and list the first 3 words that come to mind for each letter. For example, A: aardvark, advance, apple. B: blender, bully, bike…etc. Sometimes I’ll do themes like animals or foods, but most of the time just thinking of the first word that pops in my head is enough – and sometimes it’s kind of amusing.
  6. Read something uninteresting. A coworker of mine who used to sell insurance said that if you ever have trouble sleeping, go read a copy of your homeowner’s insurance policy. Three paragraphs in and you’ll be out like a light! Similarly, reading a textbook or just any old boring thing you have lying around will probably do the trick.

Thankfully, I don’t usually have trouble sleeping, but on those occasions when I do, it helps to know that I have tools that I can use to calm myself.

What are your go-to tips for those nights when sleep eludes you? Share in the comments below so maybe we can all get a good night’s rest tonight. ūüôā


The Aggravating, The Anxious, & The Good Stuff — November 5, 2014

The Aggravating, The Anxious, & The Good Stuff

Amanda (my favorite dietitian) and I had a really good session the other day in which she suggested that to help combat some emotional eating issues I’ve been dealing with lately, I should write more. How convenient that I already have a place where I can write to my heart’s content!! My aim is to write daily…my reality is that I’ll probably¬†write a few times a week, so you’ll be seeing more of my ramblings here starting…now.

Writing really does help me work through things – if I can get it out on paper, or a screen as the case may be, then I don’t have to think about it anymore; I literally feel like weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Walking is another avenue we discussed for managing my issues, but I haven’t put that one into motion much this week. I’m working on it.

But I don’t want this blog to just be a dumping grounds for all my emotional garbage, so I am going to also include some good things, if only to remind myself that there are LOTS of good things happening in my life (because I don’t always focus on those things).

So I’m just going to jump in…

The Aggravating: I got really irritated with my son earlier this evening – I was cooking dinner and I needed to leave to take my daughter to a youth group activity so I asked my son to watch the pasta that was boiling on the stove (I thought it would be finished cooking before I needed to leave – I was wrong). When I got home a half hour later, he was stirring what can only be described as mushy pieces of mush in the pan. He had gotten distracted by a project he was working on (he was looking through some family pictures – I should have made him stop what he was doing and pay attention to the pasta) and forgot to check it. It didn’t burn…but it was definitely waaaay overcooked. We threw that out in the trash and I had to start over with the pasta, and then by the time it was finished I had to leave again to pick up my daughter. So it was much later than I wanted it to be by the time I finally sat down to eat dinner. Annoying.

The Anxious: Something else coming up for me is Senior Night on Friday night for my son who is graduating next May. For Senior Night, parents have to walk their Senior to the middle of the football field where they get recognized and I’m not even sure what else happens. I am not looking forward to having hundreds of people watch me walk across a football field in all my overweight, waddling glory. I realize that the focus of this is not me – this is my son’s time and he’ll be the center of attention (well one of the centers of attention, anyway), so I need to just get over myself. Also, it’s going to be cold, so I plan on bundling up in my favorite winter coat and my dark wash jeans and boots and calling it good. I just hope the wind cooperates and blows my hair so that it is OFF my face and not whipping around getting stuck in my lip gloss. Note to self: wear waterproof mascara. I cry at the drop of a hat lately and if I think of my son turning into an almost-man, the waterworks start up and it’s hard to turn them off. Being super sensitive is fun!

The Good Stuff: My¬†hair has been playing nice lately; all my kids are healthy; I just finished a really good book (Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde). I know that’s not very much but that’s about all I’ve got in me tonight. I’m tired and ready to head for bed. I actually love the time change – I start getting ready for bed at 7:30 – I don’t make it to bed until 10:00, but I start getting ready at 7:30. ūüôā

Sleep tight!


Bubbling underneath — June 19, 2012

Bubbling underneath

Well, my low-sugar experiment last week was a success until the weekend. I’ll admit that when I caved, I did so out of frustration with my kids, not because I particularly wanted the sugar. And I also indulged on Sunday with a slice of one of those big cookie-cakes (my sister brought it over for Father’s Day) – and that was directly tied to how tired I was that day (seriously, super tired). ¬†I decided to give it another go this week and I did very well yesterday. I’m taking it one day at a time – that’s about all I can manage to think about.

The rest of the summer is going to be pretty busy – lots of kid activities, plus the Griswolds have decided to take a vacation. Oh yes – we are loading up the RV and traveling to Yellowstone for our family vacation. I’m looking forward to the time away, but I’m not so much looking forward to the bickering and the squabbles that are sure to take place in the back seat of the truck during the 3 days that it will take to get to our destination. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Speaking of kids, and I’m having a hard time admitting this to myself and to you, but I’ve come to the realization that my kids really wear me down. Last week, the oldest was away at camp and the other two spent part of the week at grandma’s house, and while they were all away I had a really nice time. It was peaceful and quiet; my kitchen and living room stayed clean for 3 days. I didn’t have to make my 3-times-a-week run for milk and I only ran the dishwasher once. There were no tattle-tales, there were no arguments to referee, no “that’s not fair!”s to hear. The hubs and I spent some quality time together just running errands and hanging out. It was really, really nice.

Then they came home…and the whirlwind started up again. All the demands for my attention, all the couch cushions in the floor, all the dishes on the kitchen counter – it all came crashing over me like a tidal wave.

And here’s the part where I feel it necessary to say that I love my kids. I do! I have really great kids, as far as kids go (I’ve seen other people’s kids – it isn’t pretty) and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Mama bear gets¬†feisty¬†when someone messes with her cubs! And it makes me nervous when my baby birds are out of the nest – I actually prefer it when they are safe and snuggled in their own beds at night.


I realize how taxing they can be. I realize how much of myself I pour into them everyday. As soon as they got home, I felt my tension level rise just a little bit. And yes, I do take time for myself – I get up early and exercise 3 days a week, I go to Zumba at least once a week, I take time to sit down and read a magazine once in a while, I get together with friends when I can…I’m not covered up 24/7, but the tension is there 24/7.

All of this is to say, that my family definitely affects my health. I’m not saying that my family has made me fat, but realizing that they are a contributing factor to the anxiety bubbling under the surface has made me stop and say well no wonder it’s so hard sometimes.

So what’s a mom with another 15 years of kids-living-at-home to do? Well I figure I can bemoan my fate (and my fat) or I can embrace the chaos and start dealing with it. I’m not exactly sure what that’s going to look like, but I know I don’t want to wish away my kids’ childhood. I just want that same peace I felt last week to hang around.

Wound tighter than a what? — September 23, 2010

Wound tighter than a what?

Title page of W. H. Auden, The Age of Anxiety,...
Image via Wikipedia

I did NOT want to get up early and work out this morning, but the reason I eventually got up is also the reason I didn’t want to in the first place. ¬†Confused?

Confession time – I binged last night. It was bad, y’all. A Very Bad Binge. ¬†I won’t go into details about what was consumed, but I will tell you that I know exactly why I did it.


I think have a lot more anxiety than I realized. ¬†It seems like most of my binges these days are due to anxiety. ¬†I used to think I was a boredom-eater or a stress-eater, but I think now anxiety has a lot more to do with it than anything. ¬†And sometimes I don’t know if the anxiety is well placed or not.

Here’s what’s making me so anxious – finances and my daughter’s birthday this weekend.

First, the finances. You may or may not remember that my husband is self employed, so that means the money comes in chunks at a time instead of a steady paycheck. When the chunks take a long time to come in the mail, I start to get nervous. ¬†My steady paycheck helps, but it can’t cover everything, especially when something extra comes into play, like birthdays, for example. ¬†So I’ve been a little worried about when the money’s going to come through. Usually this worry is useless because the hubs has always made sure we had enough, but I still let myself get too worked up about it.

Second, the birthday. It’s actually not just the birthday, it’s that there is a lot going on during the birthday weekend that has me wound tighter than a…whatever is wound really tight (see? my brain can’t even think of the correct analogy here!). ¬†On Friday, my daughter is having a couple of friends come over right after school and we are going to load up and go to Incredible Pizza Company (it’s like Chuck E Cheese for older kids). It’s going to be crowded and crazy there which I HATE, but I know once we get there it will be fine and fun. ¬†Then her friends are going to spend the night that night, and the next morning my husband is leaving early (5am) for a fishing tournament. Also, my son has a band competition and has to be at the school by 8:30am Saturday morning so I have to take him. ¬†Then I will take the friends home about noon, and ¬†then my husband comes home from his tournament for a couple of hours, then leaves again to go on a hunting trip. ¬†I promised my¬†daughter¬†that after he leaves we will go the mall and go to the Build a Bear Workshop so she can make her own stuffed animal (I’ve been promising her this for a couple of years now and this is going to be her present from my husband and I). Then that night, my neighbor wants to come over and watch a movie since both of our husbands will be gone – I’m actually looking forward to this. But my night won’t be over at that point, because if my son’s band makes it to the finals, they won’t be back to the school until midnight, at which point I will have to go and get him. At midnight. After a crazy stressful day.


I get all anxious like this whenever birthdays roll around because I put so much pressure on myself to make it all a wonderful celebration for the birthday-person, and everything usually works out fine, but I still get the oh-my-gosh-how-am-I-going-to-make-this-all-happen nerves.¬†So my binge last night was my attempt to soothe my frazzled nerves, and I get that, but I still hate it when it happens. So even though I felt like a bloated carcass and just wanted to sleep it away, I hauled myself outta bed and did my 30 with Elli. And now I’m dumping it all out here on the blog hoping that it will ease the nerves a bit.

I will be so glad when Sunday rolls around and I can just veg. But hey I’m 3 for 3 on the workouts! So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

The horrible, no good, very bad weekend. — September 6, 2010

The horrible, no good, very bad weekend.

I feel like I am going to jump out of my skin. Am filled with lots of anxiety and really need to dump it out all over this post before I go ballistic.

Issue #1 – started my period after being two weeks late. This is not a big deal, but it certainly hasn’t helped my mood either.

Issue #2 – Have been sick all weekend. Don’t know if it’s allergies or a cold, but whatever it is, it has been making me miserable. Coughing, scratchy throat, sneezing, stuffy head, stuffy nose – I’ve got it all. We’ve been running around all weekend long, so I really haven’t had a chance to just lay around and rest. Total suckage. Also I have no appetite, so instead of eating my anxieties away, I’ve been snapping at the family. It hasn’t been a good weekend.

Issue #3 – We have been watching our neighbor’s kitten since Friday and it has been VERY STRESSFUL. Her kitten and my kitten do NOT get along. They’ve been fighting all weekend long and it is really wearing on me. Also I have a feeling that her kitten has not had a trip to the vet yet – I think the kitten is only about 6 or 7 weeks old. I’m pretty sure the kitten has worms because his poo is runny and stinks to high heaven. It probably also has fleas and ear mites. I’m a little ticked that my neighbor would ask me to keep the kitten knowing this, but I’m also ticked at myself for not checking to make sure before I agreed to watch her. Thankfully the neighbor is coming home today, so the kitten will be gone in a few hours.

Issue #3 – my 13 year old son has spent the entire weekend at his friend’s house. I know this is just a preview of what’s to come in his teenage years, but I want my lil duckling home safe in his mama’s nest! My husband also got him a phone last Thursday, and we have had a small talk about texting, but we need to talk a lot more. Him having this phone is just one more thing to worry about.

Issue #4 – this sounds totally crazy, but I think watching the show “Hoarders” sets off my own anxiety. Watching all those people not dealing with their stuff really bothers me. Sometimes I really feel sorry for them and other times I think they are pathetic losers. There is a marathon on today and I watched a couple of episodes and that’s when all this really started coming to a head this morning. I wonder if seeing all their “stuff” not being dealt with makes me feel bad for not dealing with my “stuff” even though I’m not really sure what my “stuff” is. ¬†I tell ya, the older I get the more insane I think I’m becoming! ¬†And I just realized that I was watching a lot of Hoarders when this happened a few months ago. ¬†Wonder if there’s a correlation???? Either I need to watch a lot of Hoarders so I can get all this out or I need to stop watching it altogether.

Okay so those are my issues du jour. I sure hope everyone else has had a better weekend than mine. At least I didn’t have to work today, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

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