January–in June

I found this post from awhile back. I found it resonates with my previous post, so I wanted to share it. 

It’s been awhile. I haven’t gone anywhere, but I have been working hard to finish a few large goals. My writing on here took a backseat for awhile.

2017 was a whirlwind of a year for me. In March, after years of struggling with high-functioning anxiety and panic attacks, I finally decided to take a huge act of self-care and step into therapy.

Time in Therapy

I never considered therapy because I was too ashamed of my anxiety and panic attacks. I thought that if I did everything “just so,” then I’d be happy and anxiety free. Even though I know this is not rational, it was still the illusion I perceived. When something–anything–fell out of balance, I’d lose it. I’d struggle with my sleep, eating habits, and be debilitated with panic attacks. I’d have headaches, back aches, all over body aches. I’d struggle with mental clarity. I’d struggle with “brain fog.” I’d lose my excitement for life.

The biggest lesson I learned during my time in therapy is that my life needs to be sustainable. It’s not about keeping everything in perfect balance; it’s about doing what is right for me.

The hardest lesson I had to learn during therapy was that I try to do too much to make myself feel better. I want to feel better, so I apply everything I can to feel better, and then I experience burnout. Following the burnout, I begin to feel ashamed and the negative thinking cycle continues. I want to keep everyone happy and everything in balance, so I give my all and wake up still feeling ashamed.

My therapist was able to provide many truths just through our weekly writings to one another (thank goodness for online therapy!). Some of it made me cry. Some of it made me feel relieved. All of it opened my eyes and provided me with clarity and space to work out my feelings.

Sustainability

I’m going to make a blanket statement: we take on too much. Either because we love it or feel that we have to. Regardless, we take on too much.

When life becomes “too much,” we experience burnout. But that’s the end of the cycle. There are little bumps along the way, little signs, pointing toward it. But we don’t want to give up. We don’t want to relax.

Since it is January, my social media feeds are filled with resolutions, diet plans, changes and goals for the upcoming year, and all the new exercise regimens to follow.

I’m over it. Honestly, I don’t think any of that is sustainable.

So, sustainability is my goal for the year. I was going to write a list of things that will allow me to have a more sustainable life, but that in and of itself would be a list of resolutions. For me, sustainability is coming back to my true center, which is love.

Instead of a list of resolutions, I make a commitment to myself to upkeep a sustainable life. This could mean many things, which makes a list obsolete. Instead, I will choose to believe that when I do not “feel good,” I have stepped out of love and into fear. When I feel good, I have returned to love.

 

 

 

 

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Update

I’m still here, and now I’m in the process of waiting. I’ve finished everything I need to do to begin student teaching in the fall. I’ll be working in second grade.

Since my last post, I have learned two important things.

First, just because you really want to take the similar path as others, you might need to deviate from the norm, and that’s OK. This is what happened to me.

In January, I knew there were two major things I needed to get done in order to be ready for my internship. First, I needed to pass the same Praxis test I last wrote about.

I never did pass it. I was faced with a new option: taking another test that was accepted as a substitute for the portion of the test I couldn’t pass.

I passed that test with flying colors.

Second, I am learning what it means to wait. Right now, I need to enjoy my summer break, rest, and wait for the fall. This is my time for reflection and for rest.

But it is challenging.

I feel like I am on the horizon of change, looking out over an ocean, and taking a few relaxing moments before jumping in.

I’m still here. I’m waiting. I’ve worked hard, and right now, I need to relax.

 

 

Make Peace With Cracks in Your Routine

Though you can’t completely prevent your routine from getting rocked by different twists and turns, you can learn to still be at peace with them. You might even learn that your routine is old and boring, and the little cracks are making room for new changes. However, there are still times when little cracks can make you frustrated, so here are a few things I’ve learned and try to practice to help keep myself peaceful and calm.

1. Prep the night before.
Put together a to-do list and then put it away. Just because you make a to-do list doesn’t mean you have to get started doing it. I remember someone said that even when your “to do” list looks complete, there will always be more tasks. Don’t worry about it so much. Other than a to do list, consider tidying up a bit, laying out your clothes, packing your bag or meal prepping. By getting those things out of the way, you’re setting yourself up for the morning to go smoothly, or at least, if you’re running late, it can help keep you from feeling too overwhelmed.

2. Create a “To Feel” List. I can’t remember where I got this, but the credit isn’t mine. I remember stumbling across the idea of creating a “to feel” list, such as “I will feel calm. At peace and ease. I will be happy.” Read the list throughout the day. I really like this one.

3. Live in the present moment. Don’t spend all day dreaming of the past weekend or wishing it was Friday. Instead, throw yourself wholeheartedly into whatever you’re doing and do it the best you can, with a positive attitude.

4. Make peace with chaos. This is something I read recently. Chaos is inevitable, and while there are things we can do to prevent it, sometimes, chaos is a part of life. Make peace with it. Understand chaos is inevitable, and see how well you react when chaos occurs.

5. Take a deep breath. I’ve mentioned this before on my blog, but a deep breath is so powerful and can change your entire attitude. A long, slow, calming deep breath can reshape your way of thinking and bring your focus back. Next time you’re letting the “crazy kick in” come out of it by taking three long deep breaths and consider how much better you feel.

6. Meditate and Pray. If you have tons of worries, say a prayer, and then take a minute to sit in a quiet space. This really helps me, and I am learning that meditating really helps me stay focused and trains me to stop multitasking and to take everything a step at a time.

Thankful Thursday (Girl Meets Life September Blogging Challenge)

I came across Girl Meets Life’s September Blogging Challenge, and wanted to hop on board.

Here’s my Thankful Thursday. (You can view the entire blogging challenge here.)

I could go on and on about how much my pug has touched my life. She’s taught me so many lessons, especially about knowing when to rest. She calms me and continually surprises me with her strength. She suffers with a back disease that is a form of slow paralysis, and yet she plays like she’s still a puppy.

I’m so thankful to have this little creature in my life.

Thankful Thursday

Beautiful You: Ways to Stay out of the Fear Zone

When you trap fears inside your head and you never release them, those fears are only going to grow more powerful and strong. They’ll take hold of you and, probably without knowing you’re even doing it, you’ll take root in them.

Disclaimer: These are not medical opinions, but my own. I am not a doctor. These are the things that I’ve practiced and realize help me.

But you don’t have too. When you’re trapped inside the fear-space (or “the fear zone”) in your head, here are a few ways to snap back to the present:

1. Kick the icky feeling by looking at something in front of you: your dog, a friend, grass outside the window, a flower, or a new tab on your computer, or refocus on what you’re trying to work on.
2. If you have the chance, I like what Gabrielle Bernstein suggests: write it down. Really think about where you were traveling off to in fear-land. Write down those thoughts. What Gabrielle suggests is to then change the fear into something positive.
3. Do a downward dog. Yoga has completely changed my life when it comes to coming back to the present and releasing fears. If you are able to, turn on a short yoga video, do a couple of stretches, or simply stand up. This gives you the chance to do something different; you’ll be able to change your thought pattern. (If you’re looking for a yoga teacher, I always suggest going to Tara Stiles’ yoga channel.
4. Say it out loud. Whether you believe in God or not, say your fears out loud. I like to pray. And then I try to meditate afterward, or simply focus on taking a few deep breaths. I also like to pull out my Bible and read a few quotes of Scripture that ease my worries, or I grab my small notebook of encouraging and uplifting quotes from people I admire.
5. Take a deep breath. Speaking of taking deep breaths, just taking one can change your whole mindset. Often and without knowing it, we’ll begin to breathe shallowly. This can lead to anxiety or panic attacks, or just an overall feeling of nervousness. Sit up straight and take a slow, deep breath. Then see how you feel afterward.
6. Drink a cold glass of water. The refreshing coolness will help wake you up and drag you out of that fear way of thinking. And sometimes, the nervousness I feel just goes away after drinking a glass of cold water.

I hope these tips will help you be able to release your fears (or being trapped inside future-tripping fear thoughts) and return yourself to the present, so you can live fully and happily.