Sometimes You Just Need a Girls’ Night

There comes a time when you realize that your life has been so busy, yet lonely because you haven’t spent much time with your girlfriends. Last week I realized that I was in the position–I needed some genuine girl time.

So, after talking with a friend and former co-worker, I decided to implement a monthly “Girls’ Night” amongst some of my friends and their friends. These nights could be spent at a Mexican restaurant over 2-for-1 margaritas, someone’s house over a couple bottles of wine, or wherever, just as long as it’s just the girls and we have a good, unabridged time.

Our first night was a small affair, just three of us over half-priced house margaritas (on the rocks, with salt) and a chicken quesadilla. It was mostly a night of catching up, but it was great to reconnect.

This led me to believe you have to just stop yourself from whatever has been keeping you down, and break the mold of the usual evening and just let go. Be unapologetic. Be happy. Embrace your girlfriends. They’re there for you no matter what, so be thankful.

OK, so maybe not drinking that much, but you get my drift.  (Source)

OK, so maybe not drinking that much, but you get my drift. (Source)

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Depression Affects More Than You Think

This post has been months in the making. I started it in August…then re-worked it in September…and now it’s October. This has been tough for me to really wrap my head around and come to terms with. I have been suffering from depression.

My depression was caused by a catastrophic life change earlier this summer, when my world was rocked and I began to question everything I’ve come to know about myself. Now that I look back on it, I think I was battling the initial stages/signs of depression for almost a year before things finally snapped. I was so miserably unhappy in my job and where I was career-wise, I barely had any support from those I worked with, minus a few friends. There was no direction as to what I could really do to make things better, until it all just came to a blow.

I was also dealing with some personal issues, too personal to really talk about here, but I believe it definitely contributed to the state I’m in now.

I’ve talked with a counselor and with my general practice doctor. I’m on medicine with the idea it would help balance things out, help me concentrate and focus again, and be my old self. It’s not meant to be a forever thing–only to help me get through this rather rough patch…whenever that might be.

I started back down this road of “getting better” with the intention that it would happen quickly…but it hasn’t. I know things can’t be solved overnight, but some relief would be nice.

The scary thing is? They say you get good endorphins by exercising…if I’m still feeling this way even after a kick-ass CrossFit workout and 2 mile walk with my dogs, in the fresh air, how much worse could I feel if I didn’t workout as much as I do??

I’ve been using CrossFit as my escape lately. I’ve gone everyday, and when I can’t go it sends me deeper into the mess I’ve been feeling.

I’ve seen my sister struggle with her depression and other issues when we were growing up. I never imagined I could suffer from the same thing–I always thought, “I’ll never be like that…I have everything together…”

Apparently I don’t have everything together. I’ve spent my entire life trying to live up to such a high standard that maybe I’ve set for myself, or maybe it’s been set for me…but for me to admit what I used to consider a fault is hard.

It’s really hard.

But I’m trying.

I’m trying to think positive.

I’m trying to make my body move often.

I’m trying let go of a lot of things that hurt me.

I’m trying to forgive the people that have hurt me.

I’m trying to not let this crush me and change me for the worse, but instead push me to change for the better.

Change

 

I hope this post is the positive right step. I’d appreciate any support or any words of wisdom. For now, I’m trying to keep my chin up and mind clear.

Your turn: Have you dealt with, or do you know someone who’s dealing with, depression?

SQUIRREL! Constant Distractions While Working from Home

We all have those moments of ADD…

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to write a blog post and then get distracted by something else…

For instance, I wrote that first line, then had to go restart the washing machine. After coming back, I couldn’t remember my thought process, so I left it there and started on the second line. This time, LaMesa wanted outside.

See what I mean? Constant distractions! There are times I feel like my dogs: We’ll be going for a walk in the neighborhood, just trotting along relaxed and happy, when suddenly…. SQUIRREL!

I remember when I first got engaged, the first few weeks I was distracted at my computer when I’d start typing and the office lights would catch my ring…OOOoooo shiny!

Now that I’m working from home, the distractions are easier to come by. For instance, on Thursday I sat down to transcribe some interviews. Everything was perfect: the dogs were quiet, I had the radio on, M was asleep–I could easily get these four interviews transcribed and write some blog posts before lunch time.

That is, until I noticed how (disgustingly) dirty our house was. When was the last time I did a heavy duty cleaning? I tried to ignore the dirt, but then finally I couldn’t stand it any more. I put up my computer and commenced a massive house cleaning. After a couple of hours, the house was cleaned, the lawn mowed, and lunch was eaten. M had woken up and we went to the gym, then my evening was packed. Needless to say, nothing got done.

So I thought I’d look up some tips on how to manage distractions while working from home, to help me and maybe help you as well:

  1. Make a schedule and stick to it. The best way to be productive is to actually have a plan. I’m still doing my workouts in the morning, then walking the dogs. After my shower, that’s when I buckle down to focus on the tasks at hand (which I go over in my mind during our dog walks, figuring out what needs to be done today and in what order.
  2. Separate yourself from potential distractions. This is where having an actual office would be nice. On pretty days, though, I’ve been spending mornings out on the back deck working until the battery runs low on my MacBook. That’s when I know it’s time to take a break.
  3. Be honest with people about your work schedule. Many think that just because you’re working from home means you can easily go to lunch at any time, or chat on the phone whenever. If you’re in the middle of a project, be honest and let them know you’ll get back to them when you’re done.
  4. Have some quiet background music going. Sometimes this works for some people, and sometimes it doesn’t. I find that I write better when I have a constant stream of music on (little to no commercials, so no radio). I can’t handle complete silence.

Now it’s time for me to really focus on today’s tasks.

Your turn: Share your tips for handling distractions while working from home, or even in the office!

I found this here and thought it was hilarious!

I found this here and thought it was hilarious!

Actions Speak Louder

New Year’s Eve is typically when we all state our resolutions, or goals, for the year to come. We all have good intentions at the beginning of the year because the year is so full of promise.

Unfortunately, the majority of those resolutions never come to fruition. By February most have given up their motivation to keep on the track of whatever their resolution was, maybe because of the lack of true motivation, a goal too high, or maybe they just didn’t want it bad enough.

A lot of us like to put our goals out there because we want to be held accountable. We want someone to kind-of be that little bug in our ear when we reach for that brownie that isn’t on our “clean eating” plan. We welcome a little nudge to hit the gym when we’re maybe just not feeling like breaking a sweat.

Important

But if you have an ultimate goal, where you know you have to really work for it, do you make the effort to achieve it? Or just continue to say, “This is what I want, and I know how I can get there…I just haven’t gotten there, yet…” When does that “yet” become a “now”?

I can understand if you’ve been burned trying to achieve that goal before–it sucks to think you failed. But you’ve only failed if you don’t stand back up, dust yourself off, and try again.

If it’s truly an unattainable goal, perhaps you just need to rethink that goal and figure out the next best thing. That doesn’t mean to completely give up and spend your resting hours on the couch, watching televisions or playing video games. No, it just means reassessing your goals to make them attainable, or reworking the steps to achieve that ultimate dream.

Right now, I don’t really know what my goals and dreams are, in my real life. I have goals for my running, CrossFit, and training my dogs, but I’m currently reassessing my life-goals.

Have I given up? No.

Do I know others who just give up? Yes.

Does it hurt? Yes.

Does it chap my ass? Hell yes!

Why doesn’t it chap theirs? I couldn’t tell you.

goals-and-deadlines1

 

It’s time to stop saying, “I am going to do this….” and actually do it. Make your actions be seen–quit just repeating the words over and over that we’ve heard for the past few years. Make yourself accountable for your own goals and develop a work ethic towards that dream.

Stop saying you know what you need to do to achieve your goals and JUST DO IT! (Shout out to Nike.)

Stop just saying you treasure something and SHOW THAT YOU DO.

Take care of yourself. Don’t frustrate others who are taking care of you and want to see you succeed. Don’t you want to see yourself succeed? Don’t you want to feel that accomplishment? You have to want it for yourself. You have to do it for yourself. If you don’t love yourself enough to do it, how can you love the others around you that want so much for you?

So I’m continuing to work towards my physical goals and being accountable for myself. I just need to take the time to figure out my next goals and my next dreams, and then I will take action towards those goals. But I will take action for myself… Will you?

Battling Boredom

I’ve had a lot of time on my hands lately. And, to be quite honest, I don’t handle being bored very well–asking anyone in my family or M. I can only “relax” for so long before I go stir crazy.

So how have I been battling boredom lately? Well…

  • Clean the house
  • Do laundry or anything that’ll fit in the washer
  • Mow the lawn
  • Plant flowers, water said flowers, move said flowers in and out of the sun constantly
  • Write blog posts, read more blogs
  • Go to CrossFit
  • Go running
  • Look for new recipes
  • Bake (but be careful if you don’t have many people to help eat what you baked)
  • Walk the dogs
  • Train the dogs in agility in the back yard
  • Brush the dogs
  • Look for new DIY projects for around the house, then figure out how to execute the project on the cheap
  • Find things you no longer need and list them on CraigsList to get rid of them and make a little extra cash

And that’s what I did this morning. After an early morning wake-up to meet some friends for a 3.5+ mile run at 5:30, I walked the pups, showered, and headed to my physical therapy appointment. During our 12-minute ultrasound therapy session, Ryan told me I was good to increase my mileage and start training for more races–yay!

After that appointment, I ran a few more errands before coming home and hitting the computer for some blog reading. Then I listed a couple of things on CraigsList, like my old television from my apartment that’s just been sitting in our spare bedroom for 3 years and a some wedding decorations that weren’t claimed by friends for their wedding. I’m looking forward to getting those out of the house and getting a little extra cash in my pocket!

It’s hard to do much when M has to work–he comes home a little after 8 am and sleeps for a good chunk of the day, so I have to keep the house (meaning the dogs) quiet, so that limits what all I can do during those hours (no mowing, no vacuuming, nothing very loud or disruptive basically). That’s hard.

Now it’s time to do a little transcribing from an interview I did yesterday and try to contact some more sources. But first I’d like to know….

How do you tackle boredom in the summer? Give me some more ideas, please! 🙂

Confidence Crushers

Confidence is such a sensitive thing. One minute you can feel on top of the world, and the next you feel like the world is crushing you as it walks all over you. You work so hard to build yourself up–whether it’s hours in the gym, tons of reading, or whatever you can do to build confidence. Once you start to feel it, it’s a great ride–you’re standing tall and you feel like you can do no wrong. Everything is better and goes smoothly for you.

And, yet some times, it takes one little thing to burst that bubble and tear you down brick by brick. You don’t see it coming–it’s actually like a back-handed slap that can come from behind your back.

I’ve been feeling confident about my race training. I knew I had to take two weekends off right before my half marathon coming this weekend, so I had pushed up my training and actually had run 12-13 miles three weekends in a row just in the past month. But it’s been the big break that’s concerned me. I’ve been working on inclines/hill intervals on the treadmill and running different courses with hills (even once on part of the actual course), thinking I’ve done enough to prep for the Run the Bluegrass. But suddenly today, as I’m reading people’s tweets and Facebook posts about the hellacious hills that “bless” the course (especially mile 9, so I hear) my mind starts reeling…did I do enough training? Can my knee (which has been bothering me the past few weeks or so) handle the 13.1 miles and the hills?

I’ve basically decided that I probably shouldn’t chance running in the Derby Half Marathon 30 days after the Run The Bluegrass because I don’t know how my body would handle it. A total 180 from how I was feeling previously.

Another confidence blower came to me in my confidence in my abilities as a dog agility handler/trainer. Without getting into too much detail (since I know the majority of you aren’t 100% up on your dog speak), I mishandled something in the last round of Nationals in Tulsa that I mishandled last year at Nationals in Reno. I didn’t learn from that mistake. And then this weekend, at an agility trial, I didn’t work the courses or the dogs like a handler who had just returned from Nationals. It might not mean much to some, but my ability to work an animal successfully (it’s the same with horses) is very important to me because it’s a part of who I am.

It’s things like that that makes you yearn for just a little affirmation that you’re still doing alright–that you still look good in those jeans, or that you’ve done some great things with your dogs. You know you shouldn’t have to need to push for those compliments, but they tend to make a difference.

So what do you do to give your confidence a little boost?

Too Busy to be In Love?

(Note: This is another one of those personal stream of thought postings [that I’m trying to not get too personal], so please forgive me if this post doesn’t make 100% sense…)

Is it possible that you can be too busy to be in love with life? I ask this because of a personal issue to someone I’m connected with, that I was always concerned that they were too busy for their personal life and too busy to make their marriage work.

In this day and age, it’s not hard to find someone who is burning the candle at both ends–I know I’m guilty of it, especially in the summer when my volleyball reffing gig picks up. We seem to be more focused on status–whether it be of monetary value or professional value–which then takes our focus away from the other, perhaps smaller things, in life.

Do we really have to live by the tones of an alarm clock to find happiness?

Do we really have to live by the tones of an alarm clock to find happiness?

But isn’t there a point where you just have to stop and think for a minute that perhaps you’re attacking your life all wrong? Lately it seems like I’ll look back and can’t believe I’ve been married for almost five months now…time seems to be flying! And when I look at everything I’ve done since October, it’s no wonder that the days all zoom by me–I’m too busy to take a few deep breaths and enjoy what’s already around me. And I fear that’s what’s happened to my family member who has just realized she isn’t in love.

We look hard and long for that special someone who makes our life whole, and then we (well, most of us) take our time getting to know that person so we know if they’re right for us. Then we marry and our life truly begins again…and then you turn on the fast forward button.

You keep yourself so busy that the marriage becomes one of convenience–you know you’re not coming home to an empty house and there’s someone to take care of the pets while you’re out and about doing whatever. But you forget that you married that special someone to spend your life and share your time with, not to have as an convenience. Your spouse is there to be your supporter, but they’re also there to share themselves with you. If you don’t give them that opportunity, then you quickly forget why you married that someone.

I know I’ve been guilty of never being home, of being too busy with my friends and other plans that I’ve neglected my relationship with M. And I’ve worked hard to rectify that situation and to make life better for us. It’s so difficult to keep that delicate balance because there’s so much I want to do and to accomplish, and I always feel like life won’t let me catch up. But you have to be mature enough to really step back and realize how you got to the point you’re at now and why you are there. You have to make the effort to fix what you’ve broken because of your inattentiveness. You can’t expect 100% of that effort to come from the other party, instead it has to a team experience–50/50.

Do I fear that this individual has just given up and doesn’t want to try to fix things? Yes, I do. And it’s a selfish act to just give up on someone you’ve once proclaimed you loved with all your heart, and that someone you know would move heaven and earth for. It’s selfish to just give up, to just move on like you’re not hurting anyone. Because it’s more than just yourself you should be thinking about, but the other party and those affected by the dissolving of a marriage. I know you have to make yourself happy, but you also need to look deep inside yourself to figure out what it is you really need that was pulling you away and pushing you to be so busy.

Things are going to be rocky for a while, but I hope the boat rightens itself soon…

Working Through the Emotions

English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings

English: Managing emotions – Identifying feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I would never really think of myself as an emotional person. I try to keep most of my emotions in tact, unless I’m frustrated or angry, then I have trouble controlling those emotions (I’ll blame it on the fact that I’m a scorpio). No matter what I always try to hide my emotions of disappointment, sadness, inner frustration, etc., from others because I don’t want to bother anyone with how I’m feeling–I worry more about the other person.

I’m a bit of an emotional eater. I’ll eat because I’m depressed, I’ll eat because I want to savor something to make me happy, and I’ll eat because I’m bored and lonely. Almost six years ago I had gotten to the point that I was so depressed I had gained a lot of weight. After seeing some photos of myself at that stage, I kickstarted my fitness journey and lost about 25-30 pounds on my own, and swore I’d never get that bad again.

However lately I’ve been letting my hidden emotions get the best of me, and my health. Things aren’t always easy when you’re a newlywed and you’re struggling with being a grownup but still wanting to be young and in love, and it’s especially not easy when one of you is dealing with unemployment and the emotions that comes from that. Separation in the house means I find myself wearing out a trail from the couch to the kitchen in search of snacks–cereal and M&M’s being the latest enablers. I’m still working out, and still training for my upcoming half marathons, and I’m eating well for my three main meals of the day. But I’m doing myself the misfortune of all the snacking. Yes, snacking can be a good thing, if it’s done in moderation and with healthy foods like veggies. But when you’re adding on sugary items like cereal, etc., it’s not healthy eating.

So how does one combat the situation? I have no willpower when it comes to food. My husband says, “You can say no…you can walk away from the cabinet” but I think of that immediate gratification and all that self restraint goes out the window. For me, it’s best to have all of the temptations out of the house. It was much easier to do so when I lived alone (and it drove my parents and M nuts when I would have bare cabinets, but hey, it worked!), but it’s so hard to do when there’s the two of you, with two different tastes and two different ideas of what tastes good.

So I’m going to put myself on a challenge for the next month and a half. Lent is coming up, and I want to use this year as a mission for health and push M to follow along with me and take some positive steps in the direction of health for ourselves and our relationship. (I’ll write more about our little challenge later.)

I was inspired to read about Clare’s struggle with emotional eating a while ago, and I wanted to put it out there that I know I’m not perfect. I preach healthy meals to my friends and am always working out, but until you’re honest with yourself about your shortcomings, you’re not going to be able to make the changes you need to truly be healthy, and happy with yourself.

So for those of you out there struggling with emotions, I hear you. I’m there with you. Maybe  writing down those emotions will help get them out, so they’re not eating away at us while we’re eating away at the cereal boxes. (Can you tell my favorite munchie is cereal?) We have to make do with what we’ve got and do the best for ourselves. Starting now.

Workplace Insights

The following is mostly just a stream of thoughts put to the keyboard…but I feel it’s an important topic that everyone should feel open to discuss.

They say you spend a very big portion of your life working. You spend at least a third of your day working. So you want what you do your a living to be enjoyable, right? But it’s not all 100% just about you, but about the people you work with is just as important. You have to be able to get along with your co-workers and your management.

So what do you do when you’re unhappy with your work? I’m not talking about myself at this current moment in particular, but just talking from experiences in my past and some of my friends’ experiences.

It’s imperative that whoever you are, wherever you work, you have a support system at work. Now this is different from the support system I talked about in a previous post, but the support you should receive from someone like your boss and your coworkers.

I’m lucky to currently have a boss that cultivates creativity and has the back of her employees. If we need a day off, she’s all about finding someone to help make sure our job (which can basically be 24/7) is taken care of. She works hard to make sure our jobs aren’t too difficult, yet she challenges us to think of new ideas and concepts to help the company.

Some might not be so fortunate–they might feel stuck in their position, pigeon-holed to stay within the lines and not be able to stretch their legs outside of the job description that’s on paper. Or they have a boss that might believe in the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality because perhaps they feel entitled? They might forget that they were once in the position of their employees (hey, we all started somewhere, right?). But it’s a leader like that can create a stifling environment, which can be unpleasant for anyone. You don’t want to work in an unpleasant environment after a while–it eats away at your soul and your heart. This can make life move slowly…miserably.

Yet, in this economy, we feel trapped. If you have a job, you’re darn tootin’ going to do your best to keep it–that is, until you are able to find something better–but still, you’re afraid to shake the boat because you need that income and those benefits.

So what is someone to do when they’re unhappy? Right now, you just keep plugging along. You keep your chin held high and your head to the brimstone and do your job and pray for things to get better.

Or, you can take that leap and hope for the best…you just have to plan a little for the future before doing so.

So which is it? 

Keeping the Sanity

Stress is an everyday occurence for me it seems, just as I’m sure it is for the majority of everybody else. Whether it’s stress at work, stress planning the wedding, stress from trying to follow healthy eating and a workout schedule, etc., etc., it’s something that I deal with, and I’m sure I’m not dealing with it the best way.

I’ve had bouts of binge eating all my life. I’ll do real well eating right, trying to not deprive myself of the tasty things, but then something happens and I just can’t help myself. Some times it’s just one time one day, but some times it can last a week. It can be spurred on by a number of things, but mainly stress that I don’t know how to handle.

So I try to combat it with more intense workouts at the gym, which can then stress my body to a point of injury–not good. It’s a delicate balance that I think is something I’m not the only one trying to deal with.

But on those good days where I can manage my stress in a healthy manner, I enjoy working out my frustrations  in a shower of sweat, whether it’s by a long run or a great weight session. These are the times that I like the fitness classes that make you think about what you’re doing and what you’ll do next–you don’t have time to think about anything else. And, if the workout was intense enough, you’ll be soaked with sweat, breathing hard, and hopefully have forgotten what was stressing you out before.

During work hours, when a workout just isn’t feasible, I find it best to have a good laugh with friends. I’m lucky enough to have a couple that I’ve somehow gotten close to, and we can laugh over just about anything. And some times that’s all you can do is laugh. As one co-worker said, “I’m just going to start laughing–that’s all we can do about it anyway.” A very valid point. If you’re not in a position to make the changes, you have to figure out how to roll with the punches and try to not let things drag you down too much.

I think that’s what has always drawn me to the gym. Ever since college, I’ve figured how to work out my stress/frustrations/anger on something like weight machines or the pavement (loved using the boxing bags when I was kickboxing–that’s got to be the best way to work out any aggression, trust me).

One time someone asked me why I workout so much. I just smile and say, “To keep this pleasant disposition through the nine hours I’m here at work.”

What is your favorite way to workout the day’s stresses?