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

 

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Just Jill again

This week I have been kidless. My two older kiddos are away at camp and my youngest has been at grandmas. They’ll all be home again this weekend and although I have missed them, I have to admit this week has been FABULOUS.¬†

I feel like I’m getting a glimpse into the future when I’ll be an empty-nester (which will most likely be in ten years). I’ve only had to run the dishwasher once this week. I still have half a gallon of milk left from when I opened it last weekend¬†– we usually go through a gallon a day with the kids around. I’ve washed really small loads of laundry (and by loads, I mean exactly two) and that was only because it was something my husband needed washed, otherwise I’ve sort of said “screw it”.¬†

I went to a movie with a friend on Tuesday night BECAUSE I COULD. A movie! On a Tuesday!! And it wasn’t even animated! In case you’re interested, it was this movie. Really good and really girly. Perfect! ¬†

Last night, the hubs and I went out for dinner by ourselves. I can’t remember the last time we did that.¬†

I’ve noticed that I haven’t been as tempted to mindlessly snack like I usually do. It’s been easier to stay on track this week knowing that I don’t have the pressure of planning and preparing a meal that at least ONE person is going to turn their¬†nose up to. Not having to referee petty arguments leaves me time to think. For the first time in a long time, I just feel like Jill and not Mom. I’ve missed Jill. She’s pretty rad to hang out with. ūüôā ¬†Mom is tense and cranky and tired. Somehow I need to figure out how to meld the two together or at least be more Jillish and less Momish all the time.¬†

As bad as this might sound, I haven’t missed being Mom this week. I love my kids and I’d kill anyone who ever tried to harm them, but Jeeze Louise motherhood¬†tends to suck the life out of me! Some days I just don’t feel equipped with the patience to be the person guiding these sweet souls through life. A lot of days, I feel like they’re getting the raw end of the deal. I wonder if all moms feel like that at some point? But that’s a post for another day…

Anyway, it’s been a nice, quiet, eye-opening break for me this week. I appreciate that I’ve been given this time and when it ends on Saturday, I’d like to figure out a way to keep a little of that ‘calm’ around for awhile. I’ve got a few ideas brewing, but have you guys got any ideas? How do you keep peace in your homes and keep things running smoothly?¬†

This afternoon I’m treating myself to a pedicure and maybe a little window shopping after work, and then a nice evening on the patio. Just one more night to soak up all the Jillness. ūüôā

 

 

Just stuff

Howdy!

This morning as I entered the kitchen my husband said “wow, you’re getting all kinds of new clothes” to which I replied “this old thing?” No, actually I said that this was not a new top, just one I haven’t worn much (it’s a summer top and it’s just now getting summer-y here in Oklahoma). I added, “but yeah, I have been buying a few new things here and there”, to which he¬†replied “well that’s good!” to which¬†my ears perked up and my brain translated as¬†“YES DO MORE SHOPPING¬†AND BUY MORE CLOTHES”. So yeah I’ma go do some more shopping today after work BECAUSE HE BASICALLY TOLD ME TO and it would be wrong to disappoint him. I’m doing it for him, really. Okay, not really – it’s all for me. Because clothes, y’all.¬†

I’ve been shopping a lot at CATO recently because their Women’s 14-16 size fits better than a regular XLarge and they are reasonably priced. Their smallest plus size tops fit my body better than the normal XL size tops because they are cut more generously in the hip and are a tad longer in length, which I love. And since¬†CATO is not terribly¬†expensive, I don’t feel so bad spending money on¬†something that hopefully will be too large next spring/summer. *fingers crossed*

In other news, I bought some new fitness DVDs that Shelley had featured on her blog several months ago. I’ve been thinking of getting them for awhile now, but finally decided to bite the bullet and order them. I did a series of fitness dvds last summer and did really well with them. Keeping to a schedule is a big motivator for me apparently, because I don’t think I missed a day in 2 months, or if I did miss a day, I made it up at a later time. These new dvds arrived a couple of days ago, and I’ve been looking over the material and watching the videos (yes I’m a nerd – I need to know what to expect so when I do a fitness dvd, I have to watch it first so I won’t be confused¬†while I follow along). The plan suggests starting on a Monday, so I’ll start on the 26th. The plan follows an 11 week schedule using 7 different dvds and I’ll probably do an update every now and then, so watch for that in the upcoming weeks. There is a nutrition guide as well, but since I’m still firmly ensconced in my Selvera program (update on that coming soon as well), I’m not going to pay so much attention to their nutrition plan.¬†

This weekend is going to be busy! ¬†The¬†3rd 5k run in the Chase¬†the Stars virtual 5k series¬†is this weekend – it’s not too late to join! I’m glad this is a long weekend because I probably won’t get my run in until Sunday afternoon with everything else happening. Friday night, if I can stay up that late, my friend and I are going to see a midnight showing of the movie Grease at my local movie theater. I KNOW!!!! I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. I have a feeling I’m not going to be worth a plug nickel come Saturday*, but that’s okay – mama needs a night out!! Also, this is the last week of school for my kiddos, so they are having a couple of friends sleeping over on Friday night, and I promised them we could have a picnic at the park on Saturday. Sunday I’ll try to get my walk/run in, and then on Monday (tentatively), we’ll take the boat and go the lake for a day of swimming and hanging out. Should be a fun weekend, if I can keep it together and keep my eating under control.¬†

Speaking of that, I have found that planning out my meals the day before, or even the morning of, seems to really help keep me on track. I should probably make a plan for the whole weekend, just to be safe. 

It just occurred to me that I used to be very anti-boundary when it came to food and exercise. I was very “You can’t tell me what to do!” but now I find that having a plan and a schedule takes a lot of burden off of my shoulders. I’ve heard it said before that there is freedom in having boundaries and at the time I didn’t understand it, but now I’m starting to get it. Instead of having ALL THE FOOD IN THE WORLD to choose from, now my choices are limited to “what lean protein do I have on hand” or “which fruit do want to eat right now”. And¬†knowing that missing¬†tomorrow’s workout will mess up the whole week, I am less inclined to skip it, and I have to admit, I love crossing out the workouts when I complete them on my printed schedule that I keep on the fridge. Turns out, I kinda like my choices to be limited – I don’t have to think as much, which is nice because I have so many other things to think about (husband, work, kids, etc). It’s nice not having to devote so much mental energy to food.¬†

That’s it for me today. Wishing it were already Friday, but Thursday’s not so bad, I guess. It’s Friday Eve, after all! ūüôā

*worth a plug nickle come Saturday? Who am I, Annie Oakley??? 

Weekend retreat

Bonjour!

I finally had the kind of weekend I’ve needed for a long time – I did almost nothing for two whole days and it felt amazing.¬†

We had planned on going back to the park to walk around Friday night, but the weather was a little too cool and windy and my youngest was sniffle-y from allergies, so we went to the store just to walk around a little bit then came home and watched a movie. I hope the weather will be nicer this coming Friday so we can go to the park. 

Saturday I slept in til 7:30 (which I realize is still kinda early but I’m old so whaddya gonna do?), puttered around and drank my coffee in a leisurely fashion, watched the Sandlot with my kids (there is nothing about that movie that I don’t love) and finally rallied the troops to help me clean house for an hour. We¬†divided and conquered the housecleaning the duties and an hour later my house was CLEAN. I wanted to go outside and shout Ron Burgundy-style ‘HEY EVERYBODY COME SEE HOW GOOD MY HOUSE LOOKS!” but I refrained. I might have done a few dramatic spins in my living room while Climb Every Mountain played in my head. It was glorious. I spent the rest¬†of the day reading on my Kindle. Again, glorious.¬†

Sunday we got up and went to church, came home and had lunch, and then I spent the next six hours on my couch just reading. Oh, and doing laundry because laundry is ALWAYS FREAKING THERE. But I got to spend almost the whole entire weekend at home doing nothing and it was so therapeutic – no running errands, no ferrying kids to one thing or another, no having to be anywhere at all…just hanging out and reading. Ahhhhhhh.¬†

It was a lusciously long weekend and even though I didn’t get much physical activity in, I’m okay with it because my brain and my body just needed to check out for awhile. It was seriously exactly what I needed. I feel refreshed in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time and ready to face the week. Oh and there’s that whole 3 day weekend coming up to look forward to as well. Woohoo!!¬†

I need to make sure I build these weekends in to my schedule often. I’m a homebody and being at home helps me feel anchored and on top of things. And having a clean house is a load off of my shoulders!¬†

So it was a very good weekend. ūüôā ¬†I hope yours was good as well!¬†

 

Where’s a hippie when you need one?

I took this quiz this morning and the result is that I am the Hulk, which pretty much sums up my mood for the last, oh I’d say, 6 months. Yes, most of the time I feel like a big green Rage Machine. It’s lovely to be me. I used to be full of optimism and light-heartedness, but now I feel snarky and judgy and basically unpleasant most of the time. I noticed yesterday in the parking lot of Walmart that I verbally abused (in my mind) an elderly gentleman for driving too slow. Then when I actually got in the store, the amount of snark I (again, silently) directed at the other shoppers was astonishing. I have turned into a very unpleasant person.

It just takes so much effort to be positive. I’m tired already…why does being pleasant have to be so hard? And when did this grumpy old woman take the place of the sweet young thing I used to be? And the real question is…can I get her back?

I need an app that will send me reminders to be nice and think nice thoughts. Is there such a thing? If not, there should be (Dear Smart People, get on this.)

And lest you think “hey Jill, I hear exercise increases those feel good endorphins”, well let me ¬†tell you that I HAVE been exercising. I’ve been doing walking intervals on the treadmill (I even ran a few intervals yesterday) so apparently all this snarkiness is me WITH endorphins – can you imagine the level of crank I’d be without all the exercising?! Scary!

My mood is probably due to a lot of things: allergies (there’s been a strong south wind blowing in which has brought warmer temperatures along with lots of other things that make one sneeze), ovulation, not enough quality sleep, and just the general Rat Race of Life. I’ve cleaned up my diet a lot, but over the weekend I got a little lazy with the grazing and I didn’t track any of my food (Hi Amanda* – lots for us to talk about today!) and I am now of course regretting it. All of these things have me in a less-than-sunshiney mood.

I don’t want to be the Angry Overweight Woman. I used to read a blogger who was SUPER snarky all the time and wore her bitchiness like a crown. After just a few weeks, I stopped reading her because who wants to fill their mind and spirit with that??? And yet I feel that I am in danger of becoming a woman with that same crown.

DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!!

I need a peace-loving hippie to follow me around and throw daisies at me so I’ll remember to be kind. Know anyone who would be interested?

Ragingly,

SheHulk ‚ô•

 

*Amanda is my personal coach with Selvera. I’m sure we’ll have plenty to talk about on our weekly call this afternoon.¬†

 

 

 

Workplace woes

This has been a rough week, not only because of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary last week (which, I cannot let myself think about – I have a 7 year old and frankly it’s just too painful to imagine “what if”) but also because I created some drama here at work that I now regret.

Last week I was on a conference call with one of the VPs of our company and several others who are in my same position at different locations. During this call the VP stressed (several times) that if we had any issues, any at all, that he wants to know about them. He said we are his eyes and ears and if we had ANY issue that we were concerned about, to call him directly and it would be kept in strict confidence. He didn’t say this just once, he said it several times, plus he made us answer back individually when he said “does everyone understand?”. ¬†Now, it’s no secret here on this blog that I have issues with my boss, so I called one of my¬†colleagues¬†(who is in a temporary supervisory position over me) and discussed some issues with her and asked her “is this something VP would want to know about?”. She was¬†insistent¬†that he would want to know, so she called him. I don’t know exactly what she said to him, but his answer to this problem was to call the Regional Manager, who is my boss’ supervisor.

It was at this point I got sick to my stomach. Our regional manager is crude and rough and doesn’t sugar coat things. My colleague kept assuring me that he would handle things in a professional manner, and everything would be fine. I knew in my gut that everything wouldn’t be fine though.

Well, sure enough, the Regional Manager called my boss on Monday afternoon and told him almost exactly everything I had said to my colleague. He didn’t give names, but there are only 8 of us in this shop, so it’s not hard to narrow it down. When my boss got off the phone, he looked shell-shocked. He came to me as a confidant and asked me if I had heard anything or knew anything about it. There was no way I was going to lie and pawn this off on someone else or make my boss wonder who said it, so I confessed that yes I knew about it and it was me that made the call. He was again, shocked.

We were only able to talk about it for a few minutes before other coworkers interrupted us, so we sort of left things hanging for the rest of the afternoon. It was super tense and I felt awful. I really did. I hate conflict, especially if I am the cause of it.

I did a lot of thinking that evening and realized that even though it was handled poorly by both the VP and Regional manager (neither one of them called me. I think they should have called me before talking with my boss), I realized that how my boss does his job is none of my business. The happiness of my coworkers is not my responsibility. Why I thought I needed to sit in the judgement seat and decide that my boss is not working up to his potential is beyond me. It was bratty and stupid and I feel awful for sticking my nose in where it doesn’t belong. For all his faults, my boss has been nothing but good to me (lets me do pretty much whatever I want/need to do in regards to my kids or appointments or whatever), and I crapped all over that (sorry for the crude visual, but that’s exactly how I feel).

I stand behind what I originally told my colleague – there are issues here. But I cannot make it my personal crusade to ensure the happiness of every employee here, and trying to do so has backfired on me and made me look as if I’m just trying to stir things up. I talked with my boss and he was very gracious about all of it (which of course made me feel even worse), and things seem to be okay between us, but I still have this bottom-of-the-dumpster feeling that I can’t shake.

I’m writing all of this here so I can get it all out, plus I need to be clear about things when I talk with Janet (therapist) this afternoon.

I’m dusting off my resume and putting the word out that I am available. I think I should have left here a long time ago, maybe this is the catalyst for that move.

Bottom line is, I feel terrible for causing all this. I feel frustrated that I didn’t listen to my gut and instruct my colleague NOT to call the VP. I feel disappointed that the higher-ups didn’t handle this discreetly and professionally. I feel stupid that I wasn’t mature enough to just keep my mouth shut in the first place.

So many feelings, so little food to stuff them down with. (that’s a joke, there’s plenty of food, trust me)

I am humbled and ashamed and hope that at my next workplace, I’ll be smart enough to learn this lesson and not repeat my mistakes.

 

Goals and stuffs

Happy Friday folks!

Does it seem like this week draaaaaaged on forever and ever? What’s up with that?

I’ve been working on my list of goals that I want to get out of therapy. I’m still working on that list of 15 things I like about myself – I know several of you gave me ideas and I appreciate that, but if I’m being honest it’s HARD coming up with 15 things that I like about myself. So far I have six. Six! That’s a long way from fifteen, but I still have a few days to think about it.

Anyway, here are my 3 goals for therapy (and why is it every time I type “therapy” I actually type “thereapy”??????? Stop it fingers!!):

  1. Learn how to deal with my emotions without using food. (are you¬†surprised¬†that’s one of my goals? I know you are shocked that I have food issues. I hide it so well here on my blog)
  2. Learn how to deal with stress without wanting to HULKSMASH everything in sight. Seriously, The Incredible Hulk has nothing on me when I get agitated.
  3. Learn how to be more assertive/expressive in regards to my needs. This has to do with not stuffing things down, and asking for help.

We are going to talk about these next Wednesday when I go for my next appointment and she might suggest a couple more for me.

In other news, I’ve made a nice dent in my Christmas shopping. I put dinner in the crockpot this morning, so I might do some more shopping after work today since I don’t have to worry about fixing dinner tonight. I’m ready to get it all done so I can enjoy the rest of the holiday season! Can I just take a moment here and say a hearty THANK YOU ¬†to online shopping? Because if it weren’t for the wonderful technology that is the internet, I’d be so screwed right now as far as shopping goes. I LOVE YOU INTERNET!!! YOU COMPLETE ME!!

I hope you all have a good weekend  Рstay cozy, my friends!