Grateful Sundays

For some reason it feels like I haven’t typed up a blog post in a while. That could be the fact that I will often write these posts on my phone, but there is something more satisfying about typing it on my laptop, listening to Anderson .Paak Radio, while sipping on some iced coffee. This year when it starts to get warmer, I want to make time to go to different coffee shops or bookstores so I can have new places to write and maybe spark some more creativity. I absolutely love being home, but I want to make sure I don’t become a total homebody because I also love being outside and exploring new environments.

Yesterday I was thinking about what goals I am currently working on. I had listened to an episode from the Mel Robbins Podcast a few weeks back that talked about narrowing down your goals. She even has a free worksheet available on her site to use (I need to invest in a printer so I can start printing these resources out); although I haven’t even looked at this sheet yet, I did remember that she said to only have one to three goals at a time. The less goals, the more time and effort you have to actually spend on working toward that goal. Overall I have been on a healing journey and been focusing on that, but I wanted to actually list out three goals that I am currently working towards so that I can come back to them and re-focus when I inevitably fall out of it.

My first goal I am working on is being more present. I know I have mentioned this in previous posts, but within the last year it really hit me that I have spent most of my life on autopilot and in a hypervigilant state. According to WebMD, Hypervigilance is defined as: “the elevated state of constantly assessing potential threats around you,” and states that it is often the result of a trauma. Growing up in an unpredictable environment (for me, having alcoholic parents, one of which was an angry drunk), has left my nervous system in a continuous state of dysregulation. Since I spent most of my life planning ahead, coming up with worst-case scenarios so I could be prepared for whatever happened (which btw, is just a lie my anxiety told me), I never was actually in the present moment. I may have been physically there, but mentally I was always elsewhere. I can look back at photos and not even remember that day, which honestly broke my heart when I started realizing how few memories I had. Now I am making a more conscious effort to check in with myself throughout the day so that it becomes more second nature for me to do so. I also decided to start a 2023 memory jar, and whenever I have a fun experience or something brings me joy, I write it on a little piece of paper and fold it up and throw it in the jar! That way at the end of the year, I can remind myself how amazing the year was, and hopefully continue this tradition.

Another important goal of mine is to always find the joy in things, and actively do things that bring me happiness. Now this doesn’t need to be extravagant things like traveling to Caribbean or going on shopping sprees-although those things definitely do bring me joy, but I want to focus on the simple things in life. As I’ve stated multiple times throughout this blog, I absolutely love nature walks and being outside. In the winter I unfortunately let my hatred of the cold win most battles, but I am finding other things that bring me joy within my own home. I love writing, even though I may not always feel like writing, once I start I realize how much I needed it and how great I feel afterwards. I also enjoy reading, listening to podcasts, and of course singing and dancing along to some good jams. I also go in and out of phases of enjoying crafting, which I honestly haven’t done in a while, but I did think about starting to make some crafts again that have to do with mental health and healing! I also still want to start a podcast or at least start streaming again on Twitch, because I honestly love talking and can literally talk to myself for hours, so maybe others will want to listen. I have had multiple friends say we should start a podcast together, so I have thought of just starting one and bringing everyone one as guests. That will require more thought and planning, but either way I will be sure to find the joy in all of it!

The last, but certainly not least, goal of mine that I am focusing on my health, which includes my mental health. I want to consistently work on regulating my nervous system with exercise, meditation and journaling. I also want to be more mindful about my food choices and work on eating/drinking less sugar. I am not a person who does well with diets, as I get very obsessive with calorie/carb counting and it becomes unhealthy, so I am just focusing on being mindful in my day to day choices. I also feel that part of focusing on my health includes not holding onto anger or bitterness, so I am actively working on speaking up when things bother me, and also sharing my opinions even if they differ from others. Constantly muting myself in conversations is only depleting my self-worth and building up resentment; I know that everyone has differing opinions and sometimes I may come off offensive, but as long as my intentions are pure and all with love, then I will continue to be okay with myself and with the outcome. As I said before, I love talking…so I am done silencing myself.

As January comes to a slow close, I am looking forward to working towards my goals this year and continuing to check in with myself. I know that life with bring challenges and hiccups as it always does, but as I continue to regulate my nervous system and focus on my mental health, I will become more emotionally mature and more confident in myself along the way. I have made it through all of my worst days, and I am stronger because of it. I am excited to finally see myself in a different, more accepting light; I appreciate my resilience and the empathy I have for myself along the way. In my opinion, love is always going to be the answer; I am choosing to give my inner child the love she deserves, therefore giving my present self that same love.

Looking Forward

As I write this, I am winding down with my boyfriend after a nice weekend spent with my family. We celebrated our Christmas, and I love that we always do this in January after the holidays are over, because it just feels a lot less stressful. We always do a white elephant exchange and this time we had a fun twist on the game which made it more interesting; my boyfriend and I somehow ended up taking several gifts home, so if there was supposed to be a winner, I feel like it was definitely us LOL.

It was nice to spend time with family, and I know we will all spend more time with each other this year! I definitely want to go visit again when it gets warmer out, and every year we also have our annual girls’ trip, but I want to make an effort to see family more this year, as well as my friends. I also want to make sure I am getting outside as much as I can, as I always feel happy after a walk through nature or a few hours at the beach.

I am happy to say that I already have a mini girls’ trip planned in March. I am going to meet up with a couple friends in Minneapolis so we can shop and go to a concert! I have never been to the Mall of America, and I also have never been to a concert in MN so I am looking forward to that! Then sometime late summer another friend and I are planning a trip to celebrate our birthdays! I love traveling, I love new experiences, and I am making sure to prioritize that where I can, while still being mindful with money and our future goals.

Life is all about balance, and I definitely feel like I have spent most of my life falling off of the balance beam. But as I am learning about myself and how my brain functions, I am able to understand myself more and I am slowly unlearning unhealthy patterns and coping mechanisms. Part of healing includes seeking joy and doing things that bring life back to you, and I am going to do that this year without feeling guilty about it. I deserve joy and I deserve grace and non-judgment from myself as I continue to heal and improve my mental health.

I truly believe that 2023 is the year where I bloom. I will breakthrough my self-doubt and self-defeating patterns, and I will do it all with love. I will do it with small acts of kindness, both for myself and others. I will do this by keeping the promises I make to myself. I will do this by forgiving those who have hurt me, and forgiving myself for the judgment I hold towards myself. I will give myself that same grace and empathy that I give to those I love, because I deserve it.

Early Mornings- 5am Club

Good morning to this beautiful, dark Tuesday morning; I don’t tend to see this side of morning, but I decided over the weekend that I wanted to finally try waking up at 5am. This is something I have been thinking about doing for a while after listening to a few podcasts, and I finally decided to pull the trigger. The main argument that stood out to me was the fact that our morning routine sets us up for the day, and that if we take time to do something for ourselves in the morning, we are more likely to carry that good mood throughout the day. With my current job, my schedule is consistent, but I start at a different time every morning which has made it hard for me to set up a good morning routine. I feel that waking up at 5am is helpful, because I know that regardless of my work schedule for the day, I will have a solid hour of time by myself and that gives me the power to start the day off well.

I keep saying how I want to focus on my health and make good habits, and I am finally taking more steps to do this. Ironically I am listening to Mel Robbins’ most recent podcast episode and she is talking about manifesting, and she said instead of visualizing the end goals, we need to focus on the steps to get there… and that is what I am doing. I find it important to continue to check in with myself and what my goals are, and although I have a few different ones, my mental and physical health are at the foundation of all of them. If you think about it, how will I be able to be a good mom one day if I am physically unwell or mentally unavailable for my child(ren)? How will I ever be an author if I never make time to add writing/reading into my routine? How will I be able to pour out motivation or inspiration if I have not taken the time to fill up my cup? I am the only one who can set myself up for success, and I deserve to have happiness and success in life.

I do want to say that I already feel very happy and successful in life; I get to live with the love of my life, I have a job that I actually like, and I am working hard to unlearn my anxious tendencies in order to continue to move forward and progress in life. I feel very grateful every day for the life that I have, but that doesn’t mean we should stop making goals and thinking about our future. I will say it feels like I finally know the difference between manifesting/planning for the future versus obsessing/stressing over the future. I am finding it easier to let go of the things I cannot control, and I am working hard to stay focused on the things that bring me joy in life. I am the one who is in control of my life, and I get to choose to do what makes me happy. Sometimes it may not be easy, I mean getting up at 5am today was a little rough, but just reminding myself that this is what I want to do makes it a little bit easier. We all deserve to be happy, so make sure you take some time to check in with yourself and start doing the things that will bring you joy!

Cycles

TW- self harm/suicidal thoughts

I’ve been feeling rough the past few days, and I felt like it really hit me today in the car when I was driving home from work. Out of nowhere I was sobbing… like the loud, ugly kind that you only do when you’re alone. It felt good letting it out, and honestly it felt almost like I was grieving the loss of someone; it felt deep in my chest, like it took over my lungs and throat and choked me until I had to break free of the grip, and the tears were the release. I can’t say I feel 100% better now and all is good, as honestly, I will probably cry again writing this, but I do feel a bit more relief and I definitely feel a bit better after the shower I just took. 

Let me state that I literally haven’t showered in days, and it’s because I have been so tired and hormonal. My period was eight days late this month, and my periods are already rough enough, so of course this one is taking a toll on me. Part of me wishes it was the cramping/pain that was the worst part, but honestly for me it is the depression. I find that every month during this time, it is so hard to get through the week doing my normal chores and tasks. I feel like my anxiety gets very elevated during my cycles, which for me means that I not only deal with that down feeling, but I also have insane irritability, which typically just gets me more upset with myself and then I feel like I am just regressing and repeating my old patterns. I know that I am not that person though, and I am a human being who is having hormonal changes and normal emotions…I am still learning to give myself grace each day.  

Something that helped me was I had recently listened to Mel Robbins’ new podcast, and she had Dr. Russell Kennedy who is a neuroscientist. She was telling him how her daughter’s anxiety comes out as rage/irritability, but how hers is completely different, and she asked him why. He had said that our anxiety typically takes form of the most accepted emotion in a person’s mind…and that clicked for me. I always hated how angry I get and how quickly something can make me snap, but it makes so much sense when I think about it now with that information. I grew up in a home where everyone was always angry; whether my parents were mad at each other, or mad at the news, or truly just mad at the world, that is all I saw. The screaming and slamming doors in that two-bedroom apartment, so much tension for a young body to live in. In my mind, unbeknownst to me at the time, I understood that being angry was acceptable, and as I grew older, that is what my anxiety manifested into. 

Being at home, I felt completely out of control. Of course, when you are a child that is technically how it should be since your parents are the ones in control, but I literally had no clue how to deal with my anger or emotions. I have a brief memory of crying to my mom and telling her that I kept feeling an impulse to swallow a bunch of pills. All I can remember is that she asked “Why?” and I had no explanation-it was a feeling I was having because I felt so hopeless, but I also had no clue how to express that. As you can see, I am still here, I did not take any pills, and when I did self-harm, it was not deep enough to do anything. I didn’t even want to die; I don’t even know what I wanted other than to get my anger out. I knew that if I broke anything or carved anything else into my dresser that I’d get in trouble, but hurting myself didn’t seem punishable since my emotions were dismissed anyways. My parents never even saw, and although I decided against taking those pills, I never went to therapy or got help for those dark thoughts.  

I remember one night when my parents were fighting so bad and the cops ended up being called to our apartment. This was a relatively normal occurrence as the walls were thin and my parents were loud after a few drinks, but I remember texting my neighbor/best friend and telling him that they were there. He had known about the self-harm because he had seen the marks on my arm that summer and I just remember him texting me: “Don’t let the cops see your arm, they’ll take you away.” Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about that, but I knew I didn’t want to end up in a mental hospital, so I made sure to keep my sleeves down. After that moment I honestly can’t tell you if I stopped or if that is when I switched to the inner thighs, but once I started dating my current boyfriend, I swore to him that I would never self-harm again, and I haven’t. I guess I mentally have been beating myself up for years, but I am actively working on ending that cycle. 

Something I am struggling with right now is that I am coming to realize how much of my life has been on auto-pilot, and as I learnt to become more present, it is almost like a grieving process. Even though I escaped my parents’ home at nineteen, I feel like the true anxiety didn’t hit until I was gone. I still I get so upset that I spent so much of my life in a state of worry and constantly planning the next step. I could never sit still as I’d just think about all of the things I needed to, whether it be school or work or house chores. On the more extreme end of my anxiety, I’d spend so much time thinking about every worst-case scenario of everything that could happen in my life. I’d spend time thinking about how everyone I love will die and how I can’t control it and how I don’t know how I would go on. I lived most of my teenage years and twenties without even being truly there in the room I was in, and it makes me so sad to think about. If I am not here, where am I? It feels like I have been avoiding my own life. I am so scared of making mistakes, because I never was the kid to rebel or break any rules.  

I also am scared of hurting people around me, but sometimes I keep people around even at my own expense. I used to feel so drained after friends would come to me with their problems and I felt like I took on all their feelings, and now I look at that as I had wounds of my own that I was resonating with. But instead of working on my wounds, I would just take on theirs in a way. I would worry about my friends who were going through rough times, I would worry about my parents living without me there to try to moderate, and I would completely abandon myself and my own feelings. Every so often I’d have a breakdown or a panic attack and I just didn’t understand myself and since I hated the feelings I was having, I ended up just hating myself. I feel so blessed that I have my boyfriend and I can’t tell you where I’d be in life right now if I hadn’t have had him and his loving support over these past eleven years, but I 100% believe it wouldn’t be as good as it is now. He has listened to me, supported me, and loved me in ways that I never could have done for myself in that state of mind. He never judged me for my anxiety, and although I felt like a huge burden, he never felt that way about me; he loved all of me the whole time, even when I couldn’t. 

Even though I have rough days where I cry and feel anxious, I have come a long way from where I was. I also have come to terms with the fact that if I want to be present, that is up to me. I am unlearning anxious habits, as well as my people-pleasing behaviors; it was a hard pill to swallow when I read about how people-pleasing is a form of manipulation. I’d always say that I didn’t want to disappoint people because I hated being disappointed. Or I’d say that it’s because I treat others how I want to be treated and I honestly did feel this way, but also, I have to realize how I felt about myself. I wasn’t present with myself because I didn’t like myself. I had so much internalized self-loathing and because of that, I wanted others to like me. I wanted others to see me as a good friend and, if I am looking at this realistically, I probably wouldn’t have been able to handle it if others didn’t like me.  

As I write this now, I can honestly say that now I don’t care if someone doesn’t like me. I am aware that we all live our own lives, through our own lenses, with our own traumas, so it has been much easier to not take anything personal. I also feel much more present and aware of myself and my values, which has created a sense of confidence that I have missed for a while. Another thing I am doing is setting boundaries in relationships, which is really all you can do unless you just want to cut people off (which is also needed sometimes). I have friends who sometimes do things that I don’t align with and would not do, but that does not make them a bad person or friend, and it doesn’t make me love them any less! I just know to set a boundary with certain things if I don’t want to experience those parts. As I write this, I realize I need to do the same for myself. I may have negative thoughts or judgments sometimes, but that does not make me a bad person, and I shouldn’t love myself any less! I am a human being who is learning, growing and healing; there is a long journey ahead, but I am determined to be present for it! 

Being Intentional

Today is back to work after enjoying a long weekend, and I am looking forward to the week ahead! I definitely feel tired today, but I know that once I come home I can relax and do what I want to do with my time. I got to see my parents as well as a couple friends during my time off, and I am planning to see another friend during the week, and I am going to visit someone else this upcoming Sunday!

I know I didn’t really write about it here, but mid August I found out that one of my previous coworkers passed away during childbirth. Death is always hardest for me, and I always find myself questioning so many things and my anxiety always spikes. This time around I really tried to dig into my emotions and lay low, and even though her and I were not close or friends by any means, it still affected me.

I was feeling guilty for being sad, mainly because she wasn’t always my favorite person, but at the same time I would never wish death upon anyone and I couldn’t stop thinking about her family and children she was leaving behind. It kept reminding me that death truly is the only guarantee in life, and the only thing we can really do about that is be intentional with our time.

We can do our best to spend time with the people we love, so I am trying to make a more conscious effort to at least message friends more, if not see them in person. It’s also important that I do what I want in life, because I have no idea when I will pass on! When you think about it, we should truly be living like every day is our last. I mean I wouldn’t recommend taking out thousands of dollars of loans to go on an extended vacation in Greece (as tempting as that sounds), but if you always say you want to do more of something, start doing that thing!

For me, I always say I want to read more and write more, and this year I have been doing much more of those two things, but I can still do more! If I plan to fulfill my dream of writing a book, those are both things I should be investing my time into. I also say I want to be more mindful about my eating and overall health, so it is time that I start paying more attention to that.

Small, daily habits are what truly matter, and it’s important that you schedule some time for yourself. Whether it’s five or ten minutes to meditate, twenty minutes to read, or thirty for a workout, all of that time adds up over your life. Imagine how many days/weeks of our lives we have spent scrolling through online content, watching endless TikToks and reels- is any of that truly important? For some, that answer is yes, and that’s okay! For others, they are annoyed with how much time they spend on social media.

Everyone has different interests, but what matters is that you do what is important to you, and you live life intentionally for yourself. If you are constantly living for others, it becomes easy to lose yourself and go down a path you didn’t necessarily want. Life is always too short, so take some time to check in with yourself and start doing more of what you want to do!