Playing Hooky

Hello all! I hope this post finds you well. This morning I am watching the cat groom the dog, in a cozy living room with rainy chilliness outside. This week has been a long one. I am still trying to find ways to keep myself thinking calmly and rationally without letting depression take over.

I think it was about five months into my being sick that I began making a conscious effort to enjoy moments. To really enjoy the coffee cup in front of me; to take advantage of the weather and go for a walk without my phone out. And I find myself falling back into those patterns, it helps me be aware of things that put a smile on my face. On Friday I had been immensely frustrated with traffic, so I took a sharp right turn and went for a cruise. While this had started out as a dive out of traffic in a fit of rage, it ended with me going slowly down residential streets and enjoying the view.

I followed this act of refusing to be frustrated by playing hooky from social obligations this weekend. While I recognize that friends are great, relationships take effort and all those other good things, sometimes you just need to free yourself from obligations to keep yourself sane. So I bailed on a party (and the rushing, cooking, baking, pulling money from my visa because I’m too poor for shenanigans, and the hurrying of an overworked tired boyfriend that would have gone along with it.) and made plans with my best friend to go to an art show. I ended up bailing on that also, because I had very little sleep the night before, and my craving for adventure had dwindled. I watched a movie in bed with my boyfriend, after we had gone out for dinner (and bumped into my best friend I had bailed on! At least I was honest and told her I wasn’t feeling up to the art show… that could have been hella awkward.)

Anyway my point with all of this, is that learning to say no is so great. It doesn’t mean you are failing anyone, and it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad friend. It just allows you to take a mental health day, and take care of yourself. Something that I would have felt too guilty to do just a few months ago.

On that note I wanted to mention two apps that I am finding helpful. One is a Depression CBT Self Help app. CBT means Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and it’s basically a way to train your brain out of bad habits.

Please keep in mind that if you are dealing with depression and/or anxiety as I am, it is extremely beneficial to seek out a psychologist. Having a level-headed outside perspective, with the years of schooling and tools in their tool belt, will not only help you figure out why you’re thinking this way, but help you to stop thinking that way. It is worth looking into your insurance and benefits for. It does not make you crazy or abnormal (this fact I have to remind myself of often) and it is nothing to be ashamed of. You can’t be your best, most productive, self unless you are healthy. You wouldn’t push through with a flu for months without seeing a doctor or taking a sick day, would you? Well the same thing goes for your mental and emotional well-being! 🙂 

There is also an Anxiety CBT app that you can find in association with this Depression CBT app:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.excelatlife.depression&hl=en

My favorite part of the app is the Cognitive Diary. It prompts you out of the downward spiral thinking, and pushes you to analyze your thoughts. Once you’ve identified what the negative thoughts are, it asks you to challenge these thoughts with positive ones. Such as “Demands just cause more stress” or “Sometimes things are out of my control” or “I can handle depression even if I don’t want to”.  The Anxiety app also features a cognitive diary, with positive challenges that are comparable to anxious thinking.

I have also been practicing guided meditation and progressive relaxation. I am a fan of yoga, and try to do it a few times a week. [I follow Tara Stiles because I like her approach to yoga] Of course, if yoga is not something you enjoy, it might not be the most beneficial for you to do… but finding something that puts you in a calmer place, and allows you to feel peaceful is helpful at any point in your life. I am also looking into Aromatherapy, but have yet to do some serious research. I know a lot of people swear by it, and I can see the potential in it. And lastly, I am simply trying to take care of me. Eat things that are good for me (not cheating on my gluten-free and dairy-free diet because then I am in a lot of pain and discomfort), get a full night of sleep, taking moments to enjoy, and talking to my boyfriend, my dad, my friend, my boyfriends mom when I am not at a good place mentally.

That’s all folks! Sorry for the length, hope you have an amazing weekend, and that the week is a breeze for you. ❤

Vacation Time

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I spent the past couple days at the beach. It was so nice to lose track of time, and to be with friends that are so laid back. We read side by side, chatted about everything. We played catch in the water, on the field, we brought blankets and frisbees and snacks, endless snacks. It was just what I needed to feel like I had tasted summer.

What bits and pieces of summer do you need to make it feel like you’ve enjoyed your time in the sun?

Getting back to the more serious things in my life, I have been seeing a therapist. I have had two visits with her and she diagnosed me with complex PTSD and depression. I always thought PTSD was strictly for people who came back from war, or endured extremely traumatic events. My therapist explained that the anxiety/panic attacks would have come from this PTSD and that the adding of the word “complex” meant that I had endured a lot of traumatic events that come flooding back when I stop moving and allow myself to think.

She gave me CD’s to guide relaxation. It’s funny to think about learning how to relax, but a person like me can really benefit from it. I tried the first one today, and it felt like waking up from a very refreshing deep sleep. It’s called “Letting go of Stress” by Miller and Halpern.

Have you ever tried a guided relaxation? Or progressive relaxation?

I have tried guided meditation as well as yoga, and found that they are both relaxing, but that they do require a degree of concentration. Like any exercise, you are training your body, or in this case: your mind, to follow a certain pattern or path.

I’m also learning more about my past than I ever really wished to understand. My first serious boyfriend had quite the impact on my life, and not in a way that I enjoy. He found out recently that he has borderline personality disorder. (Explanation here) It explains so much of our relationship. A relationship in which I felt like if I could just be sadder than he was, then maybe he could feel better. A rationale that could not have been more wrong, but was none the less stuck in my head. I am thinking more about the ways in which I have adapted to my stepmom, a walking on eggshells life that made me feel more like I was wearing a smiling mask than truly living. I am looking back in a way that feels less painful than before, of how I actually felt when my dad didn’t “take my side” as I grew up. The way I felt like an adult and like a foolish child all at once as I grew up. My relationship with myself was a critical one, and I never stopped moving, even up until the past couple weeks, for fear of facing myself.

The next two days I have to myself at home. I slept in, eased into a day mostly outside. Going inside only for food or to switch the laundry. I’m making my way through a novel called The Vacationers by Emma Straub. It’s wonderful to read for long stretches of the morning or the afternoon. I am also excited to pick something out of my gluten free cookbook to make for a potluck at a friend’s place this weekend. I love food so much, even if it doesn’t like me back!

So on that note, I’ll wrap things up here and go back to my reading and sunshine swallowing. I hope you lovely people enjoy your summers and find some peace in your own little corners of the universe. ❤

 

 

Vacation is Coming

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Well you lovely people. I am starting vacation tomorrow morning after two more hours of work. I am excited to have the time, and hopefully the mental energy, to fill you all in on my world and share some things I’ve learned the past few weeks! So do anticipate a blog post, as it is on the top of my vacation to do list 😉

One More Checked Box

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Finally hung curtains upmin the closet! I feel so much better about it, I even popped a couple extra multipurpose hooks on the inside walls of the closet.

And. I got my desk cleared off and decluttered. Don’t open the drawers mind you…
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I love Winners, I picked up those metal yellow baskets there a couple weeks ago. Yellow is the accent color in the bedroom so I am always delighted when I come across something like those!
More meaningful posts to come I promise, I definitely just wanted to brag tonight (sorry)

Have a great night, hope you escape the cold I’m coming down with!

Getting Fit Resolution of 2014

 

 

I am in no way shape or form (all puns intended) a health nut. I love pasta. I love cake. I love the SunChips, Cheezies, Pretzels, Nacho chip Munchie Mix, and given the opportunity, will devour an entire bag all to myself. HOWEVER. I’ve had enough of throwing clothing all through out the bedroom in frustration of feeling awful in all of it. I have had enough of being winded running up three flights of stairs. I hated how embarrassed I felt going on a hike with my friends in Alberta and lasting all of five minutes. I have had enough! Plain and simple!

 

So far using the bike my boyfriend got me for Christmas has been great. I do yoga, I bike, I walk the dog a bit, sometimes I shovel snow.. (and that itself could be an Olympic Sport… Except Canadians would win that every time and the rest of the world would sulk about it) I am happy to say that I am making progress too! Today I burned 50 more calories than yesterday on my 45 minute spin, and went 2.5 miles more than when I first started out end of December! Want to know my secret motivation tip????

 

PINTERESTOBVIOUSLY.

I kid you not folks, I bike my butt off furiously looking at those cheezy motivational pins, scrolling through cute outfits I want to be comfortable in, pinning that bikini I want to rock this summer … All while listening to Dubstep and Pop Remixes so loud the dog is confused by it. I even have a Get on that Bike Board! (That I may or may not pin to while sitting on the couch watching “Just one more episode” of House Hunters)

 

Below is a photo of my favorite post maniac bike work out smoothie. Maybe I should patent that… But here’s the recipe if you want to try it out!

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Post Maniac Bike Work Out Smoothie:

1 small banana sliced

1/3 cup frozen raspberries

1 cup of vanilla fat free yogurt

2 tsp oatmeal

1 ice cube

1/3 cup no sugar added orange juice.

Pop it on your Magic Bullet and Blend!!!

One final update. I applied for a receptionist position at my best friend’s insurance firm. My cover letter basically screamed hire me, and the resume was tailored for the job (as it should be) so my fingers, toes and eyes are crossed that I get this full time job! I want my life to continue! I’m sick of being on pause in part time jobs that I hate!

Anyway. I hope you have a fantastic day, that you love that smoothie recipe (you’re welcome) and that I didn’t bore your face off with my fitness ramblings 😉

Reheated Coffee

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I reheated my coffee three times since this morning. And lo and behold I left it in the microwave before I left for work! It’s been that kind of day.
The cat and dog got all cozied up in the living room as I tackled an assignment. And I managed to get out and enjoy the falling snow while there was daylight.
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I don’t know how happy the dog was about it… But I sure liked it!
I’ve got a start on my third knitting project already and in fact wish I had thought to bring it with me on this slow and tedious bus ride to work.
Today is only day three out of seven straight work days. I’m trying to keep my energy up for this but I just want to hibernate in a cave with my knitting needles! Only emerging before Christmas with bright and shiny presents all done!
One can dream 😉
Hope your day was cozy and warm and you got to finish your coffee!

Winterizing

Well! It’s official! My boyfriend and I walked the dog down to 7-11 this morning and couldn’t feel our legs or faces when we got home.
So it was time. After my boyfriend left for the gun range with his buddy, I pulled out the winter clothes from our under the bed storage. I went through the closet. And pulled out all the summer dresses, short sleeve dress shirts, summer skirts and pants and put them in the under the bed storage boxes. 
Next I pulled out all the sweaters and winter pants and shirts. I hung everything up in order of left to right:
Dress pants, skirts, work tops, blouses, dress shirts, light sweaters/cardigans, heavy sweaters, dresses, blazers and the beloved Hockey Jersies. Like so:

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I tidied up the shelves underneath next. Pulling out summer items as I went. Upon realizing I had fewer hangers than I thought, I folded my heavier sweaters and put them on a shelf. I keep scarves, hats and mitts in the red bag. And then I resorted my clothing boxes like so:

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Then I reorganized all my dresser drawers… And was excited to find that I have enough work out clothes to dedicate a drawer to!!! Well. Half a drawer. But still. I was happy. And lastly was the shoving of the summer clothes under the bed and the refolding of my boyfriend’s drawers. He doesn’t care what his drawers look like, but every once and a while when he can no longer close them at all… I redo all his t-shirts.

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And he has a lot of t-shirts. Three out of four of those drawers are mostly t-shirts.

And there we have it! We are officially winterized. The sun is out this afternoon, but I’m not falling for it. I think I’ll get some yoga and a shower in before the boyfriend and I get ready for Thor tonight!

Hope your long weekend is fantastic & as productive or relaxing as you wish it to be!