Wednesday, March 22, 2017

My Resources for Sanity

I promised this post about a month ago. Sorry. Also, ironically I came home early today from work due to an anxiety attack. I'm hoping to avoid more of those in future because gasping for breath and not being able to talk or calm down is not a fun experience.

That being said, obviously my depression and anxiety is real. I've already established that it's a part of me and isn't going anywhere.  However, that doesn't mean that I can't take steps to help me deal and attempt to stay sane.

First of all, I am a small time blogger. Unlike some of the amazing blogs I follow and love, I do not have affiliate links.  Which simply means I'm not paid to tell you how much I love these products and am not paid in any way if you choose to try them also. (Unless you choose to buy from my Advocare page, but honestly I only use it for myself and don't even know how their process works--how's that for unbiased?)

Last summer I decided to go off my depression/anxiety medication. I didn't like the weight gain, zombie feelings, and lack of libido. I did like how it regulated my mental illness, so that needed to be addressed. Also, if you are thinking of detoxing off your meds please do so with your doctor. I cut mine out slowly but still experienced some detox symptoms such as body aches and changes in my sense of smell. Psych meds are no joke and affect your brain big time, so be smart about it!

Without further rambling, here are my attempts at keeping sane.

I CHANGED THE FOOD I EAT

If you haven't heard of paleo, you're probably living under a rock. It includes all foods that heal the body and rejects those that do not. It includes proteins, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Yes, that does eliminate many foods and sounds super scary, but after the first month or so you feel so great it's worth it. I still enjoy a glass of wine here or there and meals out. I just know that the choices I'm making will affect how I feel the next day, for better or for worse. To learn more check out some of my favorite blogs and books.

Blogs:


Books


It Starts with Food
A great introduction into the Whole 30. It gets nice and Science-y about the foods we eat and how they affect our body.


The Paleo Diet

This explains it all.


Wired to Eat

Full Disclosure: I just started reading this, but I love the plan to find the 'form' of paleo eating that works best for your body.  I also love books that dig into the science of how food affects our body.


I TAKE SUPPLEMENTS

I am not an MD or a NTP (Nutrition Therapy Practitioner) but that would be a sweet gig. I take a variety of supplements, Vitamin C, B12, Magnesium, and Melatonin occasionally when I can't sleep. But this Clear Mood blend from Advocare is a must have for me. In fact I had been off a few days which contributed to my anxiety attack today. It works with the serotonin and melatonin in your body. It keeps me nice and level so I can keep myself sane.







PRIORITIZE

My house is most often messy. It takes me days to wash, dry, fold, and put away clothes. But I meal prep like a boss, because food is important. I make time to work out and get sleep. I also spend time in the Bible and in prayer.

I WORK OUT


Yup. I get happy 5 times a week. Andy is still alive. :) I love doing BodyPump and throw in some cardio because it's good for me. Find some type of movement that you enjoy and go for it.

I TRY FOR ENOUGH SLEEP

I know. I have kids too. And a husband. And I love Netflix. But I do better on eight hours of sleep, so that's what I go for.  More sleep = More happy.


I hope this helps you out too! Feel free to ask about more details. I have lots of fun recipe book suggestions, workouts I love, and paleo resources. Take care of yourself, claim your truths, and count your blessings!



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Never Say Never

Absolutes. Women make them all the time. We experience a stressor, a hurt, or even a simple inconvenience and we swear we will avoid XY and Z FOREVER so that we will not go through it again.

My most common absolutes often stem from living life in imperfect home. Now, my house is not trashed, there aren’t hoarded piles anywhere, but sometimes I have to wash a dish before I can use it.  Sometimes I have to dig through clean clothes to find socks for myself and my family.  Sometimes I need to clear a spot on the counter to set something down. I give these moments the power to absolutely wreck my day. It looks trivial as I write them down, but talk to any mother who has had to wash a specific color of sippy cup while her toddler screams at her knees. This is real life, friends.

So every few months I download a new chore list. If I clean a little every day, life will be great again! I keep it up a couple weeks, but slowly lose my focus. The cycle repeats. This morning was no different. I haven’t followed by schedule, and was worn down as l looked around my home. I felt badly about myself, my role as mother and wife, and the reflection I think my home has on who I am. I felt like a failure.

You know who else thinks those things about me? Absolutely no one.

Certainly not my husband who lovingly takes care of me. He would rather I sit with him each evening after the kids are in bed, talking about our days, sharing our plans, and talking through our crazy plans to have a hobby farm. (Side note: ask him how many questions I can come up with about cows. My ignorance of farming is scary.) My children would rather I have snack with them after they get off the bus. True we do our little chores, but Bedroom Reading Time is gaining their support slowly but surely. And watching their minds turn while we play mancala is priceless.  

Today I devalued those precious moments by swearing that I would FOREVER AND ALWAYS keep my house clean. What? Why on earth would I promise to clean the floor instead of reading my daughter a story? Why would I sacrifice sleep to do dishes? I continue to choose the lesser important task over the more important task.

My cleaning absolute is small. Trust me, I’ve made many questionable decisions. They range from the vane desires to appear like I have it all together, all the way to the cringe-worthy-all-too-familiar-crying-into-my-pillow vow after a late night fight to guard myself against my husband, the very man who sacrifices himself daily for me. I’ve fooled myself into thinking God can only work in my life if I NEVER miss a quiet time.

Determining to follow an absolute builds a wall around a hardened heart. I know that my God can only work in me when my heart is soft, raw, exposed. Trying to be a perfect Stepford wife damages my relationship with my family, my friends, and my Christ. Keeping track of absolutes and trying to control everything will only lead to more stress, strained relationships, and, in my case, legitimate panic attacks.

I want to be vulnerable. I want close, deep relationships. For goodness sakes I want to be able to relax in my own home, regardless of it’s appearance. I want to be loving towards my husband and children. Giving of yourself as a wife and mother goes so much deeper than taking care of your home. You’re taking care of hearts, you’re teaching character, you’re supporting a man who, quite honestly, doesn’t always know how to handle you emotionally. And therein lies the rub. The strength you need to do all those things is only found in a relationship with Christ.

I’m going to claim my truths. If you haven’t read through that post, go check out my post, My One Self. I’m going to force myself to look at the big picture. I’m going to talk through the snowball as it avalanches all the way down the mountain I’ve made in my mind. Because at the bottom I won’t find tragedy. True, I may find that I need to wash a cup with a crying child, or even have a really tough conversation. But it won’t end me. God gives me the strength to do ALL things. Even when that thing is digging for a sock through frustrated tears.  

"Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; It will be unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable." C. S. Lewis


I pray that you are blessed by my post this week.  I know we’ve all been there. What are the absolutes you make? What do you do to get back on track?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Renewal....What does that even mean?!?!

I've wanted to be many things. When I was a child I thought I'd be a veterinarian. In high school and college I though I'd pursue being a Special Education Teacher. I then decided to be a secretary, waitress, retail worker, patient financial counselor, and now a shipping/office manager. While those jobs all have served my family and I well, they don't touch the passion I feel for a few other roles I have in life. I'm also a wife and mother, and have helped bring others into the world of parenthood as a Doula. Now my dream is to live simply on a farm, with animals and a garden--one day with a small country store, a smokehouse, and possibly a few cabins to serve guests.

Being a depressed, anxious thirty-two year old working through my identity did not make the above list. 

But you know what? That's where I am today. I asked God for a year of renewal. He has not disappointed. The last few weeks have been a crazy whirlwind of lessons. This list is going to make it seem like I'm complaining. But that's only because I am complaining. Life lessons are hard.


  • When you're sick, you need to rest--mothers do not get a free pass on this. In fact, they need to learn how to balance rest with making sure the household keeps running. Sub-lesson: Keeping the household running does not mean keeping the household perfect. That's impossible even if you aren't sick for two weeks, feel better, and then get sick again.
  • You're not going to have great passion for everything you do. Please hear this correctly. I am beyond thankful and appreciate my job. It provides the perfect flexibility for not only my family, but for my journey through depression as well. My job helps me contribute financially to our family. However, packing and shipping are never going to be my life's passion. Neither are laundry, cleaning, and helping kids with homework. Too bad, those things all need to get done.
  • You can't be everything to everyone all at the same time. I can't be a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, doula, worker, worship leader, small group attendee, wanna-be blogger, housekeeper, laundress, cook, car-cleaner, reader, learner, decorator, sewer, knitter, gardener, and anything else that tickles my fancy--perfectly, all at the same time. You'd think as a grown woman I'd know this by now. But I don't and I keep on trying all while thinking I will get a different result each time. And yes, I know the definition of that behavior. I'm not denying that label.
  • Things that I think I may want, I may not really want. Anyone else fantasize about their blog being 'discovered' and offered a book deal? Getting crazy recognition for your hospitality and having people flock to your farm oasis? Being heard on stage and offered a spot on a worship tour? Spoiler Alert: I'm a lazy, introverted homebody who doesn't like talking to strangers and doesn't adjust well to changes in life.
  • My depression is not going to disappear. I can eat the right diet, find the perfect balance between working out and giving my body rest, take all the correct supplements, and run my life with perfect routine and efficiency. I can have days, weeks, or maybe even months of vitality. But some days, regardless of my effort, I'm just going to wake up sad, emotional, unmotivated, in pain, and feeling lost.


Being renewed means I need to leave the old behind to make room for the new.  

I have to make room for new priorities, attitudes, and opportunities. I have to take these lessons to heart, and then re-learn them as needed. I have to leave the house messy a bit more often without guilt. I have to give myself permission to be silly with my kids and husband. I need to replace loathing with gratitude.