Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Managing Myself

Welcome to my blog. Enjoy! 

I've been consciously living with anxiety for about 4ish years now. I've been managing my anxiety for almost none of those years. Kind of. I'm getting better. I don't take medications as I've never managed to make myself a priority to go to a doctor to help. 

Like I'm pretty confident there a bunch of other people who have what I have and are barely managing as well and well, my brain is stuck on the It's fine meme...you know...the one with the dog and the coffee and the fire and he's just sitting there. Yeah. I feel like that's what my mind is doing right now.

It's cool. I think it's fine. But I know other people need me to do things and so I have to do some things and this is how I manage myself and I hope this might help you: 

How I Manage Myself a true story by me.

1. I like lists. Sometimes I'll write a list at the end of the day to just cross things off so I can have that hit of dopamine. The list helps me keep track of the ramblings in my brain. I make lists for all sorts of things, what I have to do today, what I want to clean in the office, what I need at the grocery store, who I need to contact for events or things, what I want to write about, things I want to craft, just lists. Again, it really helps the ramblings in my brain and helps me to not forget things.

2. Small time increments. I do things in small increments (except reading, I'll read for hours). I do this to convince myself to do things (otherwise I'll read). I follow this woman on YouTube Sarah Beth Yoga, and she's amazing! I love her content, but, BUT what I love most about her is that one of her playlist video groupings is 10 minute yoga videos. Yes I like yoga and yes I want to do more, but my anxiety almost won't let me do more than 10 minutes at a time. Sure I can do 3 of her videos in row and feel awesome! but I can't START anything more than 10 minutes. So I do 10 minutes. I choose a small increment and do it. It helps to manage me. I can on occasion convince myself that after 10 minutes I can lay there and spiral again if I need to (because who doesn't anxiety spiral!). If I can do this one thing for 10 minutes then I'm good!  I use the small time increments for other things too, such as writing this blog post (I gave myself 30 minutes), and applying to jobs.  I choose time increments over quantity increments (such as applying to 3 jobs instead of 30 minutes) because I can set a time and watch the clock tick down (but I don't focus on the clock) and it also stops me from spiraling into "what if I can't find 3 jobs to apply to, then I'll never be done!" 

3. Theme Music! Well not theme music so much as focus music. If I really need to get something done and it requires a good amount of focus I'll play the Hans Zimmer Pandora station. I discovered this trick on Pinterest. As I was perusing Pinterest, a suggestion jumped out at me for focusing. "If you need to focus on a task, play the Hans Zimmer Pandora Station." Apparently Mr. Hans Zimmer wrote the scores for some great movies and it's the type of movies where the characters are focused (Inception, Dune, Interstellar, The Dark Knight, to name a few). It's a similar suggestion to listening to video game music (and not the Nintendo ones). The music helps to focus, it's a white noise in your ears that almost demands you to ignore it while gently placing your blinders on so all you see is the task in front of you. This along with the small time increments really does help with managing my anxiety because it always comes back to baby stepping.

4. Alarms and Notifications: This one works well with numbers 2 and 3. I have a ton of Timers on my phone in my Clock app. 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes. All times of keeping myself occupied until I can be done. Once I decide I'm going to do a task for a small amount of time, I set a timer and I'm off! I may glance over and check my alarm but for the most part, I commit, and the only one I use 45 minutes for is my walk because 45 minutes is a long time for me to focus, but it's ok for a walk for me.  I also use my notifications so I can keep track of things that I need to remember but not every day (like changing my contacts every 2 weeks, which child showers "first"...side note: yes this will be a thing if you have kids IYKYK...when did I last color my eyebrows). I have notifications and calendar reminders for them all. It helps similarly to having a uniform. I know plenty of productive people talk about having a work uniform or a style uniform so they don't get decision fatigue, well alarms and notifications really help with that. "It's on my calendar so it's a decision I already made a while ago, can't change it now!" Using alarms and notifications and calendar reminders help to keep my brain less cluttered.

5. 5,4,3,2,1 BLAST OFF! Mel Robbins taught me this and I use it when I'm really really REALLY unmotivated. She wrote a book called "The 5 Second Rule" and she talks all the science behind it and personal stories and it's awesome and I loved it. But what it boils down to is this: Your brain wants you to stay safe. Anxiety is not safe. Your brain says "THIS" is not safe (and "THIS" could be anything, taking out the trash, writing a blog post, doing the dishes, paying a bill, anything!). Your brain will stop you from doing "THIS" because....reasons. Count down from 5 and then move your body (get off the couch, wave your hand, jiggle your foot, MOVE your body). This simple act of counting down (because unless your a mathematician there is nothing before 1) and moving your body uses different brain pathways than your spiraling anxiety. It breaks the cycle, even if it's JUST enough, you're now on the move to doing something. Which allows you to set a timer for 10 minutes to do some yoga, or put on a playlist and write your paper for 20 minutes.

6. Always reward yourself. I always reward myself with more reading. But sometimes its chocolate. When you do a thing (write a list, theme music, time increments) always give that reward. It helps to condition the brain that you do the thing, you get the reward. You hear the bell, you get to eat. Yes it's Pavlovian but it gets the job done. At least for me.

I do hope even one of these ideas helps you. I know they help to manage me when I need it (which lately is all the time). Have a great rest of your day!

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Tomorrow Night's Dinner

 Welcome to my blog. Enjoy.

I'm going to share the recipe for tomorrow night's dinner. I'm sharing because its delicious and easy but also because it gets better the longer it "sits." So because I have the time today, I'm making it for tomorrow.

The recipe can be increased but you should increase everything by 1. So here it is but then I'll share the how and the details.

1 sweet onion,1 green pepper, 1-2 stalks of celery, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can dark red kidney beans, 1 13 oz polish kielbasa, 1/4 tsp of oregano

That's it.  Add all to a pot and simmer together. Well maybe just a little more directions.  

Dice the onion, pepper and celery into small pieces (smaller than a bite size but not tiny-you want people to know what they are), sauté them in a pot with some oil of choice (I typically use olive oil). You do not need to add salt or pepper. 

When they get soft and translucent add the kielbasa, cut into rings.


Cook those in the pot (did I mention this was also a one pot meal?), until they get some color on the edges. Add the can of drained, and rinsed kidney beans, and the undrained can of diced tomatoes. Add the dash of oregano.

Why the oregano you might ask? Or maybe you just don't ask. Or you don't like oregano so you think it doesn't need it. Well, I'm going to tell you it has nothing to do with flavor and everything to do with my Dominican Husband's Mama (his Abuela). He shared with me when we first got together and he was teaching me how to cook rice and beans (not Rice and Beans but rice....and then beans) to put a little oregano in the beans to help with the...digestion thing. 

Up until the Hubster, my rice and beans cooking was minute rice (store brand, not even Minute Rice) and baked beans in the can. That's it. I had never had "rice and beans" by my husband's definition, so he taught me so that he didn't have to break up with me.  We've now been married for 12 years and together for 15ish (I'm a fast learner).

So I encourage you to add Oregano to the beans, just a pinch or a 1/4 tsp or dash. A small amount for a big difference.

Once everything is in the pot, simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally and that's it. One pot, easy ingredients and could be minimal prep if you had a soup starter. Oh, you don't know what a soup starter is, well I wrote about it yesterday. Here's the link to yesterday's post.

Serve this over rice and you are good to go! My family loves it (and even some of my husband's co-workers), and remember, it's tomorrow's dinner so it will be even better tomorrow! 

Below is the recipe:

Kielbasa with Red Beans

1 sweet onion

1 green pepper

1-2 stalks of celery

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 can dark red kidney beans

1 13 oz polish kielbasa

1/4 tsp of oregano

1. Dice onions, pepper and celery into just under bite size pieces. Saute in olive oil (or oil of choice) for 4-7 minutes until onions are translucent.

2. Add kielbasa rings to pot and saute until there is some color on the edges.

3. Add can of diced tomatoes, rinsed and drained kidney beans, and dash of oregano. Stir together and simmer for 15-20 minutes. 

4. Serve over white rice. 

This exact recipe feeds my immediate family of 4 with some leftovers. I actually triple this recipe for my full family of 7 (my husband and I live with our two daughters ages 8 and 10, his mother, our 25 year old nephew and my father who comes to dinner every night). It feeds us all with leftovers and is a big hit.

I hope you try and it. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Soup Starter

Welcome to my blog. Enjoy! 

A quick share today. I posted a while ago about my ABC's of Meal Planning here and in it I shared about theming certain days to help with planning and organizing. Monday's for my family are soup days. Well Monday's from the Monday after Thanksgiving to the first Monday of Spring, but it's all about soup none the less!

I have some great soup recipes, Turkey Tortilla, Bean and Bacon, Ministrone, French Onion (which to be fair, is more of a meal and less of a soup), but regardless, most of my soups always start with onions, carrots, celery. 

So I do this thing at the beginning of soup season. I think you might like it even if you're not a soup a week person.

I buy a bunch of carrots (I usually the baby carrots in a bag), a bunch of celery, and at least 4 or 5 onions. I chop everything up into bite size pieces and then I sauté them all together with a little salt, pepper and garlic powder. When the onions get nice and translucent, I let them cool and then I portion them up into cup servings and freeze them.

I do this so that on Monday's I can just take a soup starter out of the freezer and dunk it in chicken stock (or water, or vegetable stock, of whatever flavorful liquid the recipe calls for). I add the extra ingredients as needed and I've just shaved 15-20 minutes off of my dinner prep.

It's part of my bulk prep and preparing and for some reason October/November weekends always feel like prep time to me. But since today is a Tuesday, and yesterday was a soup day (I made Bacon and Bean) I thought I would share a tip with you.

Actually, two additional tips for you:

  1. Do some of the onions and celery without the carrots. Some of my soup recipes don't call for carrots (like my Turkey Tortilla). You can add the green peppers and sauté in a batch as well, or just add day of.
  2. These soup starters are also great for stews and other recipes that call for carrots, onion, celery. I'll be using one tomorrow night for my Mushroom Potpie and I might be using on on Thursday for my Kielbasa, Red Beans and Rice.

I hope it helps you!


Monday, January 10, 2022

The Christmas Time Capsule

Welcome. This is my blog. Enjoy.

This weekend we did the thing I hate. We took down Christmas.  It's about a half days worth of work and the house always feels a little duller from the lack of festive red and green and gold, but, and there is a but, it feels new.

Not brand spanking new, but new as in there are new possibilities for what I can put where.  When we put up the Christmas decorations on the Friday after Thanksgiving, I move things around. The living room furniture gets rearranged to accommodate the tree, many of the living room shelf décor gets removed to make way for old and new Christmas boops and bops, even pictures get a refresh with either wrapping paper or Christmas photo swaps (I do have an old but new for you post about that here). 

But when we take it all down, it feels like a clean slate. I don't have to put that photo back on the wall, right there, I can move that frame, I can even swap out that photo. I can move that vase and mini bird house from the living room to the office and swap out some books to put on shelves and tables in the living room. The coffee table get a refresh.  It's nice to know I can make some changes, because let's be honest, isn't that what the new year is all about?

One of our light traditions ("light" meaning I don't insist on it, but I've done it more years than I've not since moving to our home in 2013), is the Christmas Time Capsule.  It started the year after I found the note to myself about the Christmas lights.  Sit down for another story time, #sorrynotsorry.

Picture it. The house. 2015ish. The Friday after Thanksgiving. My husband and I are starting to pull Christmas down from where ever it's been stored in the garage and opening boxes and saying, "are we gonna put these out this year?" and "do these fit the theme this year?" Ok fine, it's me asking those questions but hey, I'm the big picture guy while Rob is the hands behind the operation.

We come to a box of lights and we look at it and say, "do these even work?" As Rob started to pull them from the box, a white piece of paper is found tucked in amongst them. When I open the note it states something along the lines of, "half the lights don't work but it could be salvaged if you want to put two strands together, but it would be a lot of work."  Or the other option presented that we could just replace the strand. The note also said this is possibly the second year we've debated this.  Rob and I looked at each other realizing we put this note in last year when we were taking down the lights and Christmas. 

We realized that we knew back then that we would question what we were thinking, so to combat that, I wrote a note to our future Christmas selves. Genius!

I would love to say, "and we threw those lights away and bought new ones!" or say, "and we used those lights again that year!" But frankly, I have no clue what we did with those lights or what our decision was.  I do know the note and the thoughts, inspired The Christmas Time Capsule and it was really easy to do.

When that Christmas season was over, and it was "that" time again, (you know, "that time," when we have to take down the tree and decorations), I asked each member of our family a couple of questions.  The girls were young, so it was like, what's your favorite movie, what was your favorite memory, and what do you want to do in the new year.  I wrote it on a piece of paper, stuck it in a zip lock and jammed it into the ornament box.

I've done something along those lines, roughly every year since then.  I think we didn't do 2018 and I think 2020, but almost every year, I write something.  This year, I wrote the questions but everyone wrote their own answers (except Rob, I wrote his but he gave me his answers).  I slipped the paper in a zip lock (I started saving Christmas cards as well and those live in the zip lock as well)  and put it in the box with the Christmas ornaments, to be discovered next year. Each year has a new zip lock with the year written on it.  

I love this little thing we do because I realize a lot can change in a year, and it's a set time to review.  While we are putting up the tree next year, nestled next our Polar Express ornaments and Baby's First Christmas ornaments is a zip lock filled with last year's Christmas cards and our time capsule. We can review last year's favorites, and see if we met our goals or did what we wanted to do. We can also look back on past years to see how our answers have changed.

If this is something that you want to try for next year (or this year, if Christmas is still in full swing in your house), here are some ideas of questions to get your ball rolling:

  • Name and Year-I would recomend putting the Christmas year, not the current year if it's after New Year's Day
  • Favorite Movie/Book/TV/YouTube-remember it doesn't have to have been released THIS year, it can just be favorite or all time, it's still nice to see if the answers change and how they changed
  • Favorite Memory-it's nice to see what people say and how they look back on the year, it can be from Christmas or anytime over the last year
  • Something You Learned-now both my husband and I this year were searching our brain for something momentous and abstract (think to be kinder, or not to judge others) but my oldest, who's 10, wrote she learned division with double digit numbers and let me tell you, it switched my thinking, I learned Canva this year and I was proud of that
  • Something You're Looking Forward to for Next Year-it could a trip or a TV show or movie, anything really
  • Any Goals for the New Year-I worded it like this specifically to encourage my family not to put too much pressure on themselves. Any day could be day 1 so you don't need to think the New Year is the only time to start a goal, and if you put something down, you have all year to achieve it, not just the first 15 days or so, but it's also ok to not have a goal and use this year/season of your life as  recharge/reset

Some additional questions you could include are: 

Favorite Song, Favorite Food, Favorite Trip, Something that made you Laugh the Most, Something that made you Cry, Favorite Meme, Best Advice You Received This Year, Advice for Yourself for Next Year, Best Compliment You Received This Year

There are so many great questions that you can put in your own Christmas Capsule, please feel free to share them so others can use them if they want!

Thank you and have a great day!


Thursday, April 9, 2020

Working from Home

Welcome. This is my blog. Enjoy.

I wanted to jump on here and share some advice I shared with a friend today. I am familiar with working from home as are many women in the blogosphere. I have a home office and work in sales, so my job consists of doing paperwork and follow up work in the home office, but going out into the community and meeting with "clients."
I'm not going to say anything revolutionary but I think it's something that needs to be said. Especially for those NOT used to working from home (if you are privileged enough to be able to do this).
This is taken directly from the email I sent to her:

I will make one suggestion if I can about working from home. Working from home is NOT working in the office. Please don't expect to work from 8-4/5 straight. When you are in the office, you most likely engage in "water cooler chat",  or popping a head over a cubicle to ask a question. You get up and use the bathroom. I know you also work by driving from place to place, so that's time that you are "working" but also are "not on" (as I refer to sometimes in sales). These are all things that you don't have the option to do now that you are working from home. Hopefully that helps? It's ok, if you get up and sit outside on the patio. It's ok if you go for a walk. It's ok if you zone out, or have the TV on in the background. Locking yourself in a home office for 8 hours is not good, nor productive. Also setting up a home office in a dining room is also not good for a family/home dynamic. Set aside time at the beginning of your day and end (inside of your 8 hours), to put out your work stuff and clear up your work stuff. I hope that advice helps even a little.

I share this with those who want it. I shared it with my husband who is also now working from home...and NOT used to it at all. I will also ask that you have honest conversations with your family, your peers, and your boss. Share your struggles, share your successes, share your tips, and share your wins.

I shared my challenges with anxiety earlier this year. That has also kept me from posting on here. I'm not saying now I'm better and it's going to change. I'm saying that I think this is advice someone might need right now, so I'm sharing it now.

I hope you are well, and staying safe. See you soon.


Thursday, January 30, 2020

Who's this Chick with the Sausage?

Welcome. This is my blog. Enjoy.

Who's this Chick with the Sausage?

About three months ago on a drive to NY from NC to see family, my husband brought up a topic that I
never thought would cross his mind. Ya see, about 4 years ago (see a flashback within a flashback), I
approached my husband about eating healthier, adding more vegetables to our diet, even incorporating,
"Meatless Mondays" into the mix. And my adorable husband, stopped me dead in my tracks. Sure he
would try it, but he wouldn't like it, and he certainly would need maybe some meat during the meal to
satisfy his protein craving.

I did my best to incorporate less meat and more vegetables (on this one night a week), never truly
grasping that you can get protein from other food sources.

Now flash forward to October 2019 and this man, this human being that I've made part of the team that

is us, well, he had seen Game Changers. You know what I'm talking about. The Netflix documentary
that shows how plant protein is awesome, and meat is bad, because science.

We're driving in the car, hurtling towards NY at 70 miles an hour and I'm ready to rip him apart. I
brought this up YEARS ago. Well, maybe not in a slick documentary style discussion a la Netflix, but
I've definitely talked to him about moving into a healthier way of living, incorporating more plants into
our diet. I start yelling (luckily the girls were watching a movie in the back). I'm mad. Big mad.

I do the meal planning, prepping, shopping, and cooking, and now, NOW you're telling me you want to
completely eliminate my carefully crafted arsenal of family favorites and weeknight go-to's?!?! (And if
you don't believe me about my meal prepping and planning, check out one of my very first posts here.)

He sat their sheepishly for a good 25 minutes while I ripped into him about this and he apologized

profusely for not listening to me sooner. He definitely told me I was "right" more than once. He shared
he was even scared to bring this up to me because he knew I was right and that I had been looking out
for us and our health for a long time.

While appeased by his admission I started asking some very pointed questions:

  • Do you want to go vegan?
  • Do you want to start right away?
  • Are you going to help plan, prep, shop, and cook?
His answers included, probably not, after we get back from NY, and yes.

We agreed to plant based protein dinners 3-4 nights a week, fish at least 2 nights, chicken the other 1 to
2 (with exceptions for the occasional pork or beef).

I share this all with a modicum of apprehension because people will likely have comments about this
and to you I say, "I'm doing what I'm doing for my team. I know how we roll, I know how we operate.
I know where to give and I know where to take. If you don't like it, move along."

So, once we returned from NY, we did a little pinteresting planning and kicked it off.  I will say we are
not perfect. But we did stick to 3 nights a week, plant based, 2 fish, 1-2 chicken, and 1 other as needed.
It was going well, until (please insert scary piano music here dum dum duuuuuuuummmmm), my
husband discovered, his soy allergy.

That, is a real thing. Not too make this short dive in any longer but he's allergic, it limits our plant based
proteins (at least for him) and I want breakfast sausage.

I know super weird pivot.

I like breakfast. It's my favorite meal of the day, and breakfast for dinner is the best treat. Now I'm also
a big egg eater. I like eggs. Probably not going to give them up, don't @ me.  My favorite breakfast is a
couple of eggs, some sauteed spinach, hash browns, and a couple of sausage links. Give me a juice and
some coffee and I'm good to go, but now with this shift in our focus to plant based, I've been giving up
breakfast sausage.

And I miss it. I miss it so much. The flavor and texture is the perfect blend with creamy eggs, tangy
spinach (just add a dash of lemon juice while sauteing), and crispy hash brown. The perfect bite.

I share this all with you so you can hear my thought process but also understand how I make changes to
my diet, and you can too!

I learned this with my wedding...yet another weird pivot, but seriously life is full of interesting
connections and if you can see them and the patterns, it will help you out immensely. Trust me. I'm on
the internet.

So, during my wedding, the advice I was given and what I will always give any bride who asks (only if
you ask), is come up with your 1-3 must haves and make those your big spend items. My husband and I
cared about our photos (we wanted to "own" them), food/drink (my love language is cooking and serving
food), and music (we wanted everyone to have a good time).

If you are going to use this advice and extrapolate it out to your diet, you need to discover your 1-3 must
haves and make those your focus. I'm a taste and texture, but not necessarily together. I LOVE eggs
Benedict. The creamy hollandaise, the poachy, eggy, runny yolk, and the salty ham. I realized I didn't need
the English muffin (it didn't do it for me), but I needed the runny yolk, and the I needed the lemony tang
from the hollandaise. Even the salty ham wasn't necessary, just the salt. So in order to make this quick and
easy and get a hit of something I love. I'll over easy a couple of eggs with plenty of salt and pepper and
put it on a bed of sauteed spinach with a hit of lemon juice. It gives me all I need.

I discovered I loved the flavor of everything bagels (and yes I love the texture) but it's the flavor I crave.

So I made a spice mix and sprinkle it on salads. Same great flavor, none of the calories from the bagel.

Again just some small tweaks to make it healthier with compromising the thing I needed. This is how the

chick pea sausage was born. I needed the flavor and a little of the texture, and so I came up with this

Yes, it is still a work in progress and the reason I'm sharing my not quite perfected version of it is

because some things are SUPER personal to flavor. Breakfast sausage being one of them. I've had it all
over the eastern seaboard and unless you get a name brand, none of it tastes the same. We happen to
enjoy the Food Lion brand of breakfast sausage links and that's what I'm trying to emulate. Please feel
free to make tweaks of this recipe with your own additions, or even use the base (chick peas and pinto
beans) and flavor with your seasoning recipe. Good luck!

Chick Pea Breakfast Sausage
1 15 oz can chick peas/garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 c panko bread crumbs, plain
1/4 c pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika

1. Put the pinto beans in food processor and pulse until mostly creamy (see picture).

2. Add all the other ingredients but the maple syrup, and pulse to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl 2 or 3 times. You want it to be coarse and crumbly and kind of hold together when you pinch it. Taste for flavor and adjust as necessary. Do not over process as the mix will become too smooth and the texture will be off.
3. Add the maple syrup and process just to combine. This mixture should hold together really well. Make balls the size of golf balls and flatten (I used a cookie scoop to make them uniform).
4. Pan fry in oil of your choice until golden brown and serve immediately.


I hope you like this recipe...and this walk into the brain and thought process. It's how I figure out what to do next and how to breakdown recipes that I want to test and try.

See you next week!


Monday, January 20, 2020

Anxiety...What a Bitch.

Welcome. This is my blog. Enjoy.

Anxiety...What a Bitch.

So. It's been. Just shy of two months since my last post about not posting and I feel I need to share a little about what's been going on. (EDITORS NOTE: It's been like 4 months...but I wrote this a couple of months ago and thought I was good...I was better...but not THERE yet. I'm going to publish this and move forward but I'll add in my commentary.)

I would like to joke that Life is what's going on, but it's not life. It was my life, and the anxiety and depression that kind of held me captive for the last couple of months.

I was sad. I struggled to sleep well. I couldn't take a full breath. Eating was weird. I was totally off.

To be fair and honest with you, but mostly to myself, I didn't do the things I'm supposed to do. I didn't start working out. I didn't start meditating. I didn't start mindful breathing. I didn't do yoga. I didn't talk to anyone. I didn't take medication prescribed by a doctor. I didn't start eating better.

But, I did quit drinking. I did give myself time. I did give myself permission to be not ok. I did talk about it with my husband, and some family members. I did what was best for me at the time.

I'm getting better. This time of year is really weird for me. It's right around the time Facebook likes to remind me that my mom was dying, and I was watching it all go down. It's also like, right before the holiday season (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas) and my birthday is jammed up in there, and not in a good place (I'm a Christmas Eve baby).

So I work through every year this weird: Do I like my birthday? Do other people like my birthday? Is it too inconvenient? What do the girls want to be for Halloween? What do I want to be?  Who is coming for Thanksgiving? Should I make appetizers? Should I do a signature cocktail? Who are we buying presents for? Are we doing anything for New Years? Oh yeah, who IS coming for Christmas?

I also had two conferences scheduled this year where I was going to be away from home for 7 days. And all of this is compounded by, oh yeah, by the way, your mom's dead. It's just, not a good time.

It was a lot this year. This year was 5 years since my mother passed away from cancer. One day I'll share the story of the shit storm that was our life for 3 years, but, that story is exhausting and I can't today.

But again, this was the typical thoughts this time of year. But this year, it was different, and not in a good way. I really struggled. Sleep was not my friend. I would wake up in the middle of the night and then not be able to get back to sleep. I would have mini panic attacks (MPA) all day. Nothing where I had to get out, but they definitely slowed me up. My mind would race as I drove and share all the awful things that could happen. I wasn't eating right, I definitely wasn't exercising. I stopped yoga and I stopped meditating.

But again, I made changes. I'm diligent about my skin care, I'm also diligent about some vitamins I take, and I started taking a new one a couple of months before I noticed I was going downhill. I stopped taking it. I got better.  If there is one piece of advice I will share for your life, it's learn your patterns (EDIT DANIELLE HERE: I'll add some other stuff about this but foreshadowing this is important).

It's taken a couple of months for me to feel better. To sleep better. To stop the MPA's. To stop the mind racing. I'm doing better, and that's important. I'm feeling better enough to jump back into this. I'm apprehensive but looking forward. It's gonna be cool.

EDIT DANIELLE AGAIN! Hello! So I wrote all of that a couple of months ago and never hit publish. Why? Who the heck knows! Probably not ready. But I am now. I actually told a wonderful friend that I was gonna publish this on Christmas with some edits for the "Holiday Blues" but, I didn't. She went looking for it. Because she's awesome. Thank you Lisa!

But I'm publishing now. But wait! To expand on the "learn your patterns." Most woman know about their periods. They might have an app or write it old school on a calendar, but they keep track of that sort of thing. Some people mention "mercury in retrograde" and nursing and teachers like to make, "pray for me it's a full moon" statuses. These are all patterns. Learn yours. Are Monday's rough? Figure out why? Do you get a stomach ache after milk? It's a pattern. I'm not saying you have to make changes. NOT AT ALL. I'm saying notice them. Then if you want to make changes you can.

I cut alcohol. It's been super helpful. I also cut those vitamins. Awesome. Since the first writing of this, I've moved to more plant based meals. I've had less heartburn and I'm not AS tired. I still haven't jumped back to a regular yoga practice, and I definitely don't meditate like I want, but I've made small changes that I felt were doable for me during my anxiety and depression. 

Much like getting sick, you have to come out of it easy. You don't just jump into all foods after recovering from the stomach bug. You don't just go crazy and push hard after the flu. You ease into it. Once I recognized my patterns, I made what changes I could, small steps in the right direction. I've shared with my daughters that as long as they are moving toward something it's OK if it's slow, like a turtle (slow but determined), not like a sloth (slow with no purpose). So I'm turtling my way through this.

Thank you for letting me take this time. See you on Wednesday.