Therapy Homework

I have been quite conscious of the fact that relationships take work for a long time and I really started being more thoughtful in graduate school when I noticed many of my relationships suffering. I lived far from home and really did not give them the attention and care they deserved. My initial thought was to just research and do better, which helped. Not enough though.

In seeking help lately, I was given the homework to be more assertive and express how I am feeling. Additionally, I need to keep others accountable for what they say or promise to me. It is really breaking an unfortunate habit I have created. And as I write this I am thinking about the fact that I am the gal who is constantly working on herself.

I am not perfect and I never can be, but I want to be a kind and thoughtful person. This homework though, while I feel it is thoughtful… I feel so unkind at times. I am struggling with this part of the homework. I know it is necessary to tell people what you need, however, I feel conflicted with relying too much on others. It takes a lot of reminding myself that sometimes the kind thing to do is to be blunt and clear.

At this moment I feel like I have put too much faith in what I was told, which is why I need to work on keeping them accountable. Everything I am being promised right now for both scenarios of how things could work out, they need to be followed. I can not let anything slide anymore. I am what is at stake here.

I would love to hear the kinds of homework you or a professional have given you to work on. Or maybe your working on the same thing as me, how do you feel you are doing? Right now, I would give myself a B-. I just need to pause to think more before saying, no I do not need anything.

Practicing Self Care

With feeling like life is not all together, I am glad I took some time last month to get back into some self care. I needed to do something for myself. I took a long break from working out and doing any extra stuff that cost money. I am always trying to save as much as possible without losing my mind.

Some self care is easily done on a budget. For instance, I really do not mind giving myself a manicure and pedicure because its very cost effective and I have all the supplies. Last month, however, I spent some money:

  • I got my brows tinted.
  • I got my first underarm and Brazilian wax treatment.
  • I got a real haircut from a salon where the stylist actually knows how to cut curly hair.

These were not cheap, but since I liked the results from the wax treatment, I got a wax pass through the European Wax Center. I also tried to extend the brow treatment as long as possible by picking up better products for filling in my brows and growing them. I am actually going my 2nd time today, so that is about 6 weeks between visits. I had not worn any makeup for 6 months, so it took some getting back into the groove of things.

Then the haircut, which was the most expensive per visit… I am hoping I can get away with maintaining it every 4-6 months, rather than the every 3 my stylist recommended. Also, that was the longest I ever spent in a salon and I feel like I just do not have time for that. The haircut was really the best cut I have ever had though.

I know I do not need to do these things, but it felt good to do something for myself for a change. I do not know if I will keep them up forever, but they are helping me deal with life for now.

Everything in Life is Falling into Place

It feels like everything is falling into place. One of the great things about life is how it always seems to work out, especially when you put the effort into going with the flow. Focusing on what was really important to me seemed to help manifest changes that are making me really happy.

My health seems to be in a better place. I am feeling better mentally and physically. My cycle is not only back, but becoming regular. My face is clearing up. Both signs that my hormones are balancing out. I also have not turned to food for comfort in times of stress. I love checking out all the farmer’s markets in the area with their beautiful produce. We are not bringing home so much junk food. I am enjoying short walks and yoga. I feel like I am returning finally to being active.

Being active is just one way my life is feeling fulfilled right now. I started an incredible job a month ago where I feel valued, working with an amazing team and love what I am going. The opportunities for growth these job offered has already led to a promotion! I am glad I am writing a blog about this because the next time life feels uncertain I have a reminder that life works out when you put good efforts into obtaining what you want.

My partner had faith in me and was so supportive of me this past year. I am so grateful for our relationship. We have been working to spend regular quality time (my love language) together and still have the feeling that waking up next to each other is the best feeling.

Hormonal Update

I mentioned that I had a cycle in September, but then things were quiet for a couple months. Nothing happened in October and I only spotted for a few days in November. Exactly one month after spotting in November, I got an early Christmas present from mother nature. I was pretty happy and finally felt like I had an update to provide on the matter of my hormones.

All I have done was stop working out and focused on managing my anxiety. I have not full on binge ate since November. I did not gain a single pound over the holidays, but that could have been due to the food poisoning I experienced on Christmas day which made it impossible to really eat much for a week. However, I feel different when I am full. I keep thinking that I can not imagine putting anything else in my mouth. I just stop eating because I am full and not in an uncomfortable way at all.

My anxiety has mainly been due to not letting things go and avoiding things. I have avoided issues, such as responding to questions regarding planning my wedding when I am not even engaged yet, and tasks that for some reason seem daunting, such as completing a written sample that was requested of me. Of course, avoiding these things ends up increasing my stress levels.

One of my faithful readers who is a dear member of my extended family and my partner have provided me with much help. Telling me to go with the flow of the visit or family gathering and to remain calm with people or I will just be projecting my anxiety onto others. I do not want my anxiety to sabotage my life and hormones. It has not been easy, but what is? I am getting there the best way possible and enjoying it.

 

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

My partner received a job offer and we officially have accepted it on Thursday. We will be moving to the Hudson Valley area of New York in late Spring. I have never been to that area of the country and I am really elated to explore it for the first time. It is a relief that we have this figured out. We are also hoping to buy our first home when we move, whoa! So much excitement!

In March we will go scope out the area to look for housing. Then in May, after graduation, we will drive both our cars over to New York to get settled in and learn the area before he starts his position in June. There is plenty of time. I can also start looking into jobs for myself!

It just feels like life is coming together. We are in one place together. We will both be out of school. We can settle down. We can save more money. It is the beginning of the next chapter of our lives. I just keep breathing a sigh of relief and in disbelief that I will be a New Yorker. Life just keeps getting more interesting.

Additionally people can finally stop asking us when he will be finished. Something that is an anxiety inducing experience because a PhD can feel like it will never end at time. Regarding most questions though, if you think about it there will always be a question they will be asking. They likely have not seen you in a while so they are asking to catch up with you. So be nice, likely it is not their goal to make you feel like you are behind in life. That feeling is all on you.

Look for more posts regarding this in the Spring. ūüėČ

Changing Myself

I have lectured my family on how to live their lives more than I ever should have. I have come to understand that has caused issues in our relationship and I am trying not to provide input when they did not ask for it.

I had a lot of thoughts, “Who am I to tell them how to live their lives?”, “Are they really hurting me with these actions?”, “Would they not learn a lesson on their own without me stepping in?” and “I love them and need to be more supportive.” I am seeing positive changes in our relationship and their lives. Butting out also has made me feel less stressed all of the time. Although,¬†holding back a lot of thoughts makes me anxious and therefore have moments of binge eating.

On Friday, I wanted to give suggestions about how to plan out the day, my partner and family can feel overwhelmed by my desire to plan everything out. I ended up eating small bits of everything in sight and would pace the kitchen because I could not calm my mind. It is not always this challenging though. I am getting better with going with the flow.

I know my planning can be useful, but sometimes its nice to be spontaneous and open to change. Are you working to change anything about yourself to better your relationships?

Motivation and Body Image

I want to be completely honest with this blog and Wednesday morning I watched a YT video that made me realize that I was leaving out part of my story. I mentioned that I gained weight and I know I can get back on track. I had gotten up to 31 lbs heavier than a year ago and slowly it is coming off from the hard work I have been doing. Hard work being saying no to all the fried food and sweet temptations.

Motivation has been challenging. I see myself struggle to walk as much as I use to or put on size 12 pants I have not fit since early 2015. I have had times where I looked at my body in disgust and that action disturbed me because I know I deserve to treated better than that including by myself. Its so funny, 4 years ago it seemed like I was going through all these exact same emotions. I had just completed an internship at the end of August 2013 and then started a job in November 2013, which brought my spirit back to life.

Now, I may not have just started a new job, but within the last 2 weeks I have been seeing a upswing in my overall well being. I really needed this. I use to feel beautiful and sexy at this size. I know others see me that way too. Last weekend, I started to see it again. Granted initially I was trying on all the dresses I own to wear at the family wedding this weekend, but once I found one that would work I looked at my legs and thought, “I have nice legs” I smiled.

It is just proof that whatever may be going on, you have to remember to be there for yourself and love yourself as you are at that moment. Loving yourself is not this smooth easy going thing, just like our lives. I am still working on giving myself the love I deserve and keeping motivated during this period of healing and change. This stumbling is just part of the process to getting back on track.

Why I have stopped working out. Period.

I have amenorrhea, meaning I have not been getting my menstrual cycles. This start almost 2 years ago. I was on the seasonal birth control pill and I thought I was pretty happy with it until I developed vitamin deficiencies, low libido, PMS and my period slowly with each cycle completely disappeared. After 2 cycles of the pill without a period, I was freaked out enough to think about how important the pill was to me.

I know not having a menstrual cycle can be a negative sign of a lot of things. Not only that, but I am 31 and want children within the next few years. So my doctors have run numerous tests, confirmed that I have not been ovulating and we have tried to force a period with progesterone, but with my insurance coverage ending, now it is the time I try something I felt hesitant about doing.

I stopped all weight training and running as of August 18th. I am not just laying around. I can walk, do yoga (not Bikram intensity though because cardio is off limits) and I got the thumbs up to ride a bike to the market about once a week. The thing is my stress levels have been high for a while and the energy I am getting through food consumption has likely focused on healing my muscles after my workouts to make me stronger instead of healing what has gone wrong with my hormones.

My hesitation came from not having bounced back yet from that bulk I did (though I figured out that bulking/cutting are just not for me), worrying about losing the strength I have gained #gains and feeling like my workout routine is part of my healthy lifestyle. I was told to refrain from medium to high intensity workouts until my cycle has returned consistently for 3 months… O_O Then I can slowly get back into working out.

Although I will miss my workouts, resting and de-stressing is important for my health at this time. During this healing period I need to stick to eating micronutrient dense foods = loads of vegetables. Easier access to the farmer’s market and being reunited with all my kitchen tools will be my resources, then this blog will be my accountability. Yes, I will be checking in regularly.

I am thinking this will be something I post in addition to my regular Sunday posts. Like a what I ate this week kind of post with some notes about my activities. My doctor said healthy desserts are fine (my bestie has no idea how much I am about to use that raw desserts cookbook she gave me), but keeping highly processed foods and eating out to a minimum (1 – 2 times per week at most). This works for me and our current budget, of course this will also keep me healthy.

If you have any words of wisdom when it comes to healing PLEASE share them in the comments below! Stay healthy my friends.

Preparing to Move

I am moving and although I have feelings of anxiety over the matter, it will be great to¬†wake up next to one of my best friends daily and share our daily lives together. Also… looking forward to have all our belongings under one roof, no longer confusing where a condiment or pantry supply is and paying one set of bills!

We have been living in semi-neighboring cities for about 5 years now. Easy drive in 2 hours or less, however no decent place in the middle for each to commute from and too far for one of us to affordably commute from one city long term. Albeit, I get the joy of commuting 4+ hours a day for the month of August. At least I can sleep or do things on the train.

With the fact that I do not have a gig lined up after the last day of August and we will be moving again within ~6 months, we needed to make this move as cheap as possible to be within our means. Here are some steps I have taken to make this an affordable move for us:

  • Downsize. I have been doing this in a few ways:
    • Purge. Packing up to move is the best time to sort through one’s belongings because who really wants to not have to pack and haul everything.
      • In our case, we have duplicates between the two apartments. No one needs 2 toasters, 2 microwaves, etc., therefore I either sold, donated or gave away these items. I do not want to just throw things away when they are still good items. Plus, I made a few dollars and our landfills were saved from additional non-biodegradable waste.
      • I especially took this opportunity to take clothes/shoes/accessories that no longer fit or that I simply dislike to a resale shop and then donated what was left to a place like Goodwill.¬†Goodwill recycles the items that are not in good condition, unlike most of the more accessible donation bins around town. Thus, saving our overflowing landfills again (I try to do what I can and after researching it, Goodwill seems like the best and most accessible option for donating with the least amount of waste, but please tell me if you know of a better option).
    • Sell as much furniture as possible. To avoid getting a truck to have to move ALL the things and to make a bit of money, we sold most of the furniture at my place through Craigslist. My dresser and TV stand sold within an hour of me posting them. Last thing I have to sell is my bed, which I have waited to post anything about to have something to sleep on for a bit longer.
  • Bring items with me each visit. Since I knew for a while that I would be moving back in with my partner and we visit each other at least once every 2 weeks, we have been working slowing to move things back. My last day in my lease I will only have a large suitcase to hop on the train with.

I have one week left in my place. It is bittersweet to leave this city and all the things I have grown to love here, but my future looks bright.

Summer is Here!

The first official day of Summer for the Northern Hemisphere of Earth was this past Wednesday, June 21st. It is the longest day of the year for us North of the Equator. This is the start of my favorite half of the year. I live for the Summer and Fall seasons. The produce, weather, activities, etc. are my favorite! Here are some thing I am looking forward to this Summer:

Seasonal Produce

I can not wait for all the produce that Summer brings. I love berries (especially raspberries) and tomatoes which are now coming into season! Other vegetables and fruits in my region to look forward to are Cherries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Melons, Stone fruits, Cucumbers, Squash, Corn, Eggplant, Peppers, Tomatoes, Apples and Pears! Most of my meals during the summer are fresh and lack grains, which makes me feel more comfortable in the warmer weather. I feel like I crave more grains and fats in cold weather, while the Summer makes me want to eat lighter fare.

raspberry-1465988_1920

Goals

With my life changes in motion this Summer, I have been reassessing my goals both personally and professionally. To recap… at the end of July, I am moving in with my partner in his city about 90 min away and will mostly telecommute for my last month of work.

First, I have much I need to accomplish before I finish up my position. I want to complete my role in these grants the best way possible. Leadership is a feather I really want to work on in these last two months. However, starting September 1st, I am planning to take a full month off from working. Our human resources manager highly recommends you do this between jobs. Although I may have more than a month off from a full time job, I want to make sure I take appropriate time off to plan out my next steps in life.

Plus, I could really use some time to just be a human and take part in passions I may not have felt I had time for the past few years. Perhaps take some classes for fun (yoga, Spanish, pastry, etc.) or explore the Great Lakes regain more before we may move we or travel to see friends and family. I mainly want this time for myself because leaving this position feels overwhelming and emotions like sadness and bewilderment have been coming up. I want to respect those feelings.

Fitness Changes

Recently, I have not been feeling great during or after my runs. It could be that I just need new running shoes, which I am looking for now. However, I am concerned I may be pushing myself too hard to do something that does not serve me at this moment in time. I had bumped up my running milage, but I am taking a step back for now. This change, however, actually means addressing my mindset as a runner.

Before I started running, I thought folks were crazy to run in the rain/snow/heat or to run very long distances. After… I questioned whether I had an addiction to the runner’s high. I think it is more that runners that can develop this mindset, which can happen with other people demoted to an activity and wanting to push themselves. This mindset though, is best described as “if I cut back I will lose my progress and have to start over.”

I have seen with so many folks on YouTube, Instagram, and even my friends ‘in real life’, that change is good. Doing the same thing all the time can get boring. Your progress can become stagnant. Not taking breaks can cause injury. Pushing yourself too hard when you are not enjoying it can cause stress. I still love running. I do not want to get to a point of hating it. So I am going to focus on other forms of fitness for the time being (i.e. yoga, strength training and maybe cycling) that I am appreciating.

What are you looking forward to this summer? Share in the comments below!