Self Care Sunday

Today felt like a very productive day, which always makes me feel very happy and accomplished. I love having days like this, and I know I only have many more to come if I keep working hard on focusing on the positives in every situation.

Grocery shopping is normally something I complain about, but I knew it was a task I had to complete today. I reminded myself that it is important to look at the situation with gratitude; I am thankful that I can afford to grocery shop for my home, and I am thankful that there are so many different food options to choose from! I felt a lot better getting ready to go to the grocery store than I normally would have, and I truly believe that is because I took that time to acknowledge the fact that grocery shopping is a blessing, and a privilege that I am lucky to have.

Something else that was a blessing today was I randomly got a notification on my phone that my aunt from out of town sent me money on venmo! The memo said: “Gas, groceries, meal out, whatever you want. :)” I was honestly taken aback, but immediately was so grateful and I sent her a message thanking her for this sweet gift. I put it right in our account to go towards groceries, and I’m currently making steaks in the air fryer for us! It’s truly incredible how it seems that when you pay attention to your blessings, that more seem to show up!

I may not have gone to the gym today or cleaned out my closet, but I did other productive things and I am happy for myself! I read some of my book (The Power is Within You- Louise Hay) out on my balcony, I listened to a Phil in the Blanks podcast, and I treated myself to an iced coffee! I keep reading posts and listening to podcasts about focusing on one thing at a time, and truly looking at life day by day instead of stressing about the “end goals,” and it’s truly has changed my perspective. For example, if I have the thought that I should go to the gym, but I truly don’t feel like going, I will at least take a few minutes to stretch or do a small workout with some dumbbells at home.

My past, perfectionist self wouldn’t have even done that because if I’m not going all in it’s not worth it, but that’s not true! If I would have done what I’m doing now each time that I didn’t go, I’d likely be a lot stronger/more toned now than I am! Instead of getting down on myself about that, I’m just making more conscious efforts and decisions moving forward; taking it day by day makes life feel a lot easier.

What did you do for yourself today? If nothing yet, please take some time for yourself! It doesn’t have to be something major, simply washing your face, reading a chapter of a book, or lighting your favorite candle can be an act of self care! You deserve time for yourself; remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup!

Back to Normal

I get to go back to work tomorrow, which is earlier than expected, because my PCR Covid test from Saturday came back negative! I had a positive rapid test and a negative PCR in the same day (well, honestly the same minute)! Although I am bummed that I just cancelled seeing my family for a false positive, I can only move forward and make plans to see them another time.

I am hopeful that this pandemic is coming close to an end; seeing endemic being talked about seems promising! Not to mention seeing the UK lift all vaccine/mask mandates after reaching their peak with Omicron, I can only pray we’re next. Maybe finally after nearly two years we can all get back to our normal lives. It’s been so sad to hear about the people who have committed suicide and overdosed during this pandemic, especially knowing someone who did.

We won’t know how this pandemic truly affected people until much later; I know we have the numbers on the CDC website in regards to Covid itself, but I’m referring to the mental health issues and suffering that people endured during the shut downs. Children locked up in abusive homes, suicidal people alone with their thoughts, addicts who are bored but have nothing to do so they fall back into what they know; I feel there were much bigger effects on the human species than we know at this time.

At this point, all we can do is be grateful that we’re still here. We are pushing through, and hopefully there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Until we reach the light, it is important that we take the time each day to count our blessings and make our own happiness. We need to be our own lights during the dark times.

Empathy

A couple of weeks ago I was very emotional and had really felt like I was taking on other people’s emotions. I have often felt this in my life and have been learning more about being an “empath” and a “highly sensitive person.” I have resonated with a lot that I’ve read/listened to, but recently I came across a quote on a post that made change my perspective a little bit.

I follow a few “self love” and “positivity” accounts on Instagram, because if I’m going to continue using social media, I am taking more control of what is in my feed and what I want to consume daily. Well, one account had posted this quote that they had written and it really stuck with me: “Empathy can often be confused with projection. It may seem like you feel other’s pain deeply, but the need to heal them comes from your own wounding. There was a time when you needed protection, so now you try to save everyone” (@VexKing on Instagram).

Now I read this and was like “Okay I am being attacked right now,” but in reality, I truly needed this realization. I feel like looking at situations where I felt someone’s pain or emotions, I can now dig deeper within and see where I was feeling that pain in myself. Sometimes it’s hard to hear certain things because they can feel harsh, but honestly those harsh truths can be so liberating when you take a good hard look at yourself.

When I was feeling my friend’s pain from her dealing with her best friend passing, I was feeling my pain from when my close friend passed a few years ago. When I feel stressed about how my friends are handing certain situations, it’s because of the way I’ve handled things/been handling things and I’m protecting my own insecurities onto others. When I am upset at family members for how they act, it’s because I can usually see myself in them during those times.

It’s amazing how simply reading a few sentences could completely opened a whole new perspective and avenue for healing for me. Psychologists explain how we are to work through our triggers and how explore therapy can be quite beneficial for a lot of patients, and we have to be very honest with ourselves in order to do that. Avoiding our triggers and our bad thoughts is only delaying our healing; and we deserve to heal.

Therapy.

I just finished up speaking with my therapist! Much different from our last conversation considering a month ago I had finally been setting boundaries and felt like I was sticking to them, and then today I feel like I’ve gone completely backwards and didn’t actually do anything that I thought I did. Hearing her say that this is kind of a “curveball,” made me feel somewhat better in a weird way; maybe just because it seems like anyone would be struggling with this and I feel less alone in it? I don’t know if that even makes sense.

We talked about a couple goals for me, one of which is journaling. I do write on here weekly, I guess sometimes more when I’m going through shit, but the act of physically writing down my thoughts/experiences will be beneficial for me. I actually used to write a lot when I lived with my parents, and it definitely was an escape/coping mechanism for me. Since being on my own with my boyfriend, I live in a much calmer environment which hasn’t required that need to escape.

I need to write out what I’m feeling in order to help myself understand it better. I feel it’ll help organize my thoughts as sometimes I feel like I am taking on other peoples’ issues and I’m not as good as I thought I was at determining what is “mine” and what isn’t. Another goal is to have subtle boundaries. I do NOT have to answer my phone when a friend/relative calls if I am not in the right headspace. NO ONE needs instant access to me, and me setting boundaries is NOT meant to hurt anyone, it’s meant to help myself.

I know I have a lot of work to do, but I am ready. I am tired of making myself physically ill my own stress, and honestly even over other people’s stress. I want to regulate my nervous system and find peace within myself, and I deserve that. More reading, more meditating, more breathing.

Growth.

I feel so very blessed every day to have such an amazing man in my life. I am always blown away when I think about the fact that we met at the age of 16, started our relationship together, and here we are 10+ years later still happily in love. I won’t sit and pretend that we didn’t have fights or hardships, I mean when you’re a teenager isn’t everything just a bit dramatic? Maybe not necessarily, but our brains were still very much under-developed and my emotional control was, well, much less controlled. I’m so thankful that he has stayed with me through my mental struggles and has never once made me feel like a burden. He is so patient with me and always makes me feel so loved, and for that I am forever grateful.

I remember moving out together at age 19- I had finally been able to escape my chaotic childhood home and be out on my own under my own rules. Little did I know that this would only exacerbate my anxiety at the time, as well as my depression. I’d sit and cry about how I had everything that I wanted, yet I felt like my brain was on fire, yet completely numb all at the same time. I was so upset that I didn’t feel “happy.” I’d tell my boyfriend how much I loved him and I loved our life together, all of which was 100% true, but that I still felt sad and almost empty or un-fulfilled. I just could not understand why I was feeling so empty and why I couldn’t just be happy there in those important moments of my life.

Now after many years of therapy (and ongoing therapy), I know that it is because my nervous system was used to being in a certain state, and now that I no longer was in an environment to keep it stimulated in that way, my brain was finding other ways to it. I could not sit still and relax. Period. I always felt the need to be doing something, and if I knew something needed to be done, it needed to be done right away. I always felt like I was racing the clock; I couldn’t even allow myself to just lay in bed or relax on the weekends. I always felt stressed and rushed, and I also felt like I was just doing this to myself which only made me angrier and hate myself and my brain more. If I did allow myself to physically relax, then my brain would just start going; how can you sit here when you could be doing x, y, and/or z? Why aren’t you doing this, that or the other thing? But why? I finally was in a space where I could control what would happen around me…but that control became obsessive.

Honestly, I am still learning how to deal with my anxiety and control issues; I see my therapist every 3-4 weeks and am actively trying to re-wire my brain with better habits. I have come a long way from where I was when I was 19, and again I feel so blessed that my boyfriend has been with me through all of this. When my anxiety was at its worst, I was so irritable and angry all the time and I took it out on him, because he was the only one around. I didn’t want to be mean to him, and then I’d feel guilty and sad about it because I was hurting the person who was sitting here loving and caring about me. I knew I didn’t want to do that anymore, and that was when I reached out and started my long journey of seeing therapists and trying different medications that got me where I am today: unmedicated and still actively going to therapy. I no longer feel constantly irritable or like I am running out of time, and I take time to sit and appreciate everything around me.

I am so proud of where I am now compared to seven years ago. I am so proud of where I am from when I started this blog compared to now. My goal with this blog was to learn how to love myself, and I truly feel that I have learned how to do that. There is still so much work to do, but it doesn’t feel so overwhelming anymore… it actually is kind of fun! I am going to continue on this journey so that I can develop more healthy habits, learn more about myself and my brain, and hopefully make myself better so that I am less likely to pass on my traumas to my future children. To anyone reading who feels super anxious or overwhelmed with life, just know that it can be a long journey, but it is a worthwhile journey. You deserve to take care of yourself and understand yourself.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year!