awareness

Action Words

Pooped
Tired
Exhausted 
Fatigued

The action words above describe me after today. After the crazy week. After all the emotional highs and lows I experienced. Too many highs and lows to note. More importantly, my week resembled a roller coaster of life. A real shit show.

Refreshed
Recharged
Rejuvenated 
Rested

The above action words describe me now after some time alone. After some time to gather my thoughts. After an unplanned trip to the coffee shop for a sweet treat. After a day outside In the fresh air. After a trip to chase the mountain air.

I had plenty of things on my to do list. I had a few events I could have gone to. I had some folks I could have visited with. There were many things I could have done but instead I chose me. Just me. Just time away from the noise. The chaos. The crazy. The stupid. All of it.

A plane ride to an island might have been a nice oasis but with the pandemic still lurking my options were a little closer to my normal than a vacation destination. The destination didn’t so much matter as much as the journey. The break in the cycle of chaos.

Many times I talk about a reset button. We all have them. We all need to use them at times. If you don’t reset the crack will deepen. The crack will then turn in sink holes that you can’t find your way out of. A trap of sorts.

Many may never see you need a reset but I’m sure you know. The question is can you just drop the to do it list and fix you? I do. I do it sometimes more than I want to or more than I want to admit. The point is I’m not afraid to say I need a mental health day. A day off the grid. A day doing the unexpected or unplanned. There is only one of me and in order to fire on all cylinders when it’s needed others around me need to know not to let the crack deepen. They need to see a stress fracture and say I can cover for you. Take a break.

How many just want somebody to notice they need a break? Many. Some people don’t ask if you are okay because they are scared of what you will say. Some won’t ask a hard question because of fear. I take the fear away from others. I say what I feel and do what I need to because nobody can fix me but me. 

This rant was about mental health A-Z. I may use myself as an example above but it’s relatable to many. Our teachers need a break from the chaos they see daily. The students need a break from what’s all been thrown their way, too. Let’s not forget about the parents that are juggling work, carpool changes due to Covid changes last minute, who has shots and who doesn’t, mask or no mask….they need a break. A break without punishment. A day off.

How many actually take a day off. How many people say no you can’t have that day off. Plenty! Plenty is one too many. My mom always said never judge a person until you walk a day in their shoes. Many have shoes I wouldn’t want to fill in this day and age and heck many wouldn’t want to be in my shoes most days. For whatever reason we need to have the ability to recharge. Reset. And just play hooky.

10 years ago I’d never tell my kid they could take a day off just because. However today I leave the possibility open. PTO of sorts. Physical time off. Time away. Taking care of self before others. Getting into nature. Moving the body. Stimulating what you want vs. what you have to. That homework can wait. In today’s world it’s okay.

When I revisit this post in a few years I may have a different mindset but today this is my journal post of sorts.

I will leave this post with words of discomfort. Words that require action in one way or another. What’s relevant today but most likely to be avoided.

Covid

Pandemic

Mask required

Vaccinated

Quarantine

Symptoms 

Restrictions 

Zoom

Digital day

Hoping 2022 has something spectacular lurking. 2021 is just as much of blur as 2020. 

balance

Life being Lifey

Life is being extra lifey these days. War, weather, mental stresses, financial hardships, on and on and on. It’s everywhere. My work life, my personal life, family friends colleagues acquaintances are all full of it. People are messy in their best times. Now, their messiness is more like a shambles that spills out and spreads all over.

Assume people will get sick, have issues and set backs and not be able to execute. Assume extra tasks, jobs, and responsibilities are coming as a result of the balls that others will drop. It’s just how things are right now. How can I thrive, survive, persist, stay sane in light of these times?

Here’s how I am hanging on for this bumpy ride:

Eat well. There are certain things I don’t farm out to anyone. Nutrition is number one. I own every step of that process from planning it to shopping for it to cooking it to packing it up. I don’t like being off plan and I don’t always make great decisions when it’s left to the last minute, whatever I can get my hands on. I know that eating well makes me feel better and do better. End of story.

Exercise first thing in the morning. The only possible exception is Sundays. Exercise helps me manage stress and gives me a sense of accomplishment and strength right off the bat. Extra boost if I see my friends and get the social sweat aspect of life first thing as well, but this isn’t always possible. Movement always is!

Stay ahead on things, knowing curveballs are coming. Busy season is about to kick up. When I have an idle moment, I try to think about what task I can push one step (or more steps) forward. Throw the laundry in. Clean something. Stock the pantry with two instead of one. Hopefully, when deadlines come or something is needed, I am ready instead of behind the eight ball trying to juggle and patch things together. Being ahead on what I can eases my stress.

Sundays. Sundays are my reset and ready-for-the-week day. I try to protect this if at all possible. It is often the only day I start with an extended coffee time at home. I write. I pull out clothes for the week. I make lists. I try really hard not to drive anywhere further away than 10-15 minutes unless it is a soul-serving adventure. Looking ahead on the calendar, keeping Sundays “sacred” will get harder and harder as fall’s busy-ness kicks in. Even as I write this, my Saturday and Sunday has flipped for this weekend. But I still try to keep one day with fewer commitments. Go-go-go all the time wears me out.

Notice nature. Get out and immerse myself in nature as often as possible, even for a few minutes a day. Flower farming has been amazing for this. I have a couple of hours a week in our field, just cutting flowers, watching bees and butterflies, soaking up the fresh air. I keep our flowers with me at work and home so I see them many times a day. They always make me take a small mental pause and smile.

What could I add? I need to write more often. I need to stretch. I need to meditate. These fall too low on the to-do list right now and I know each of them would help. This paragraph is a challenge to myself!

These last few weeks have been a lot, at times bordering on “too much, I can’t handle it, get me out of here.” There have been times I’ve considered drinking alcohol, which I don’t do. I’ve considered massive carb-and-cheese-laden meals of things I don’t typically eat. These things float through my mind, I notice them, then remind myself what works for me.

“Self care” has been a buzzword over the last couple of years. It comes with these challenging times. Life being lifey just beats many of us down and we need to take care of ourselves. I am a firm believer that you can’t pour from an empty cup, meaning you have to keep yourself cared for before you can care for others. Self care looks different for everyone. For some, it means doing whatever you want, regardless of the craving and what it costs. For me, self care does not mean self indulgence. Sometimes it means reminding myself what my goals are and what makes me feel healthy. A cocktail isn’t self care for me. Or a piece of chocolate cake. Might feel good for a moment, but then I’m left dealing with the fallout from my own impulsiveness.

In the end, I can only try to control my own decisions, my time, and my attention. I have to redirect myself when the decisions others make upset me. Boundaries are ok to set and adhere to. I only have to explain myself to those select few people who warrant it. But for most people, “no” can absolutely be a complete sentence.

health

Self Care Time

I have written about self care many times. Each time it’s a different spin on the value of self care. Today is no different.

I made time for a spontaneous spa day. Finding a place with an appointment that fit my schedule was gonna be tricky. Then I found a partner in crime to share the day with which meant I needed two time slots. The level of hard to schedule increased immediately.

I got lucky. I found an opening. It was further than I wanted to drive but the car ride would end up being part of the experience with my adventure buddy.

A little lunch/snack. A little exercise. A lot of pampering. The massage was a bit odd as far as the methodology but the end result was amazing and my body said thank you 1,000 times. Oh how have missed a good massage throughout this pandemic.

I then opted to splurge for a facial. I had been in the sun a lot and felt the hydration piece of the facial was again something by body would appreciate. And it did. Another big win for my body. Totally different experience but rewarding.

Now the spa attendee said I’ll throw in a complimentary brow treatment since you are here. Great news but then she noted it was threading. I asked if it hurt? She said well a little bit, I don’t know your pain threshold. OUCH!

That settles it. Threading hurts for sure. It’s a different annoyance than the waxing but definitely a shocker on pain at least in my opinion. It was quick though. The hurt came and went before I could fully grasp the insanity. I lived to tell about it. I also think you should give it a try just to feel the experience if you haven’t already.

My partner in crime opted for some lash tints. Dark blue black or black. Is there even a difference? I really can tell the difference in the person but she said she loves the natural coloring vs mascara each day.

An expensive day of treating myself but it’s definitely and investment in me and why self care is important. Your version may not be as extreme as mine and that’s okay. The point of the post is to remember you. You matter and if nobody sees that you might have to show yourself. 

fitness and nutrition, health

Road to 5-0 and beyond

The road to fifty isn’t always so nifty. When you approach the big 5-0, many shifts take place. Your body. Your mind. Sometimes your zip code. Maybe even your friend circle.

Maybe it’s mood swings that hit today. Maybe it’s body changes next week. Maybe it’s aches and pains ongoing. Maybe it’s stress in life. Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it’s all of the above. Maybe it hits all at once.

Maybe you become forgetful. Maybe you just seem over emotional on days. Maybe you are bloated. Maybe you move slower. Just maybe you are getting old. Gender doesn’t matter when it comes to aging.

There really isn’t a guide book for a mid life crisis. There isn’t an age point either. There isn’t a how to manual for menopause or grumpy man syndrome. There isn’t a road map to feeling old. For me I just want to age gracefully and keep up with what I still want to do each day.

It seems many in their fifties are starting to see signs of aging. Maybe the fast food is catching up with one pal while melanoma is rearing its ugly head with another. This is the time to do the breast checks. The annual physicals. The colonoscopy. The dirty list nobody really wants to pay attention to.

The next ten years will be the shoulder surgeries. The knee replacements. The second laundry list nobody wants to contend with. Getting old. Make sure you are treating your body like the temple it is. You only have one. Pay attention to any warning signs that rear their ugly heads.

I take each day as it comes. I try to live life to the fullest. I try to seek out adventures. I like to stimulate my mind. I like to tire myself out with fitness at some point in the day so I can sleep well at night.

I try to tune out negative people in my life. I have no room to waste mental energy on negatives. It will never help me make it through my road to 50-60-70 and beyond. 

dare to be different

Thursday

Today is Thursday. I made it to Thursday. My week has been a shit storm of this, that, the other and then some. It’s like the shit was smeared across my bathroom mirror, the car window, the computer screen, the kitchen table, you name it.

I guess you get the picture I have painted. Now I’m not thirsty or I would be taking advantage of it being Thirsty Thursday. Instead I’m opting for some time in my thinking chair. Feet kicked up. Faithful dog by my side while I listen to traffic pass by in the nearby street.

I think about those cars rushing to their next destination. Hustle, bustle, and hustle some more. It’s the grind we live. For me I’m pausing in the space between activities, work and life to catch my breath. A deep breath. It’s been a hell of a week and it’s just Thursday!

This is where the self talk comes in. One day left. Another 8-10 hours of petty bullshit. I got it. I already went through the thick and gooey shit. The end of the week should be a breeze. Get after it. Make Friday your day. Slay and put all that shit in the shitter where it belongs.

This weekend I will focus on recharging. Resetting my mind. Re-engaging with my social circle. Relaxing in a new environment. I will even make it a point to eat or drink something new to step out of my comfort zone. It doesn’t matter if I don’t like it. It matters that I push my limits while recharging. It’s part of the process of reawakening oneself.

Have you ever had a day, a week or any amount of time that life just seemed to get sucked out of you? Everyone needing your time, your attention, your emotional energy causing you to be tired and ready to just shut down. That about sums up my last couple days. 

I made it to today. This fine hour where I could be doing a lot of other stuff but I chose me. I chose correctly. If I don’t take care of me, I will never have what it takes to support those around me who need me. The ones that I lead when they question their path. The ones who need a gentle nudge. Even the ones who need a firm push.

I matter just like you matter. Look in the mirror each day and smile. Reflect on why you matter. Embrace it. You make the world better. One step at a time.

For my Friday wish, I wish for whomever reading this to be content with who they are today. Not who they were in the past and not who they will be in the future. Just who they are today. The me of today matters the most. Live life to the fullest.