balance, health and wellness, mindful

Kleenex Box Donations, Please

Sometimes I underestimate the power of a really good cry. I am fully aware of the healthy alternatives to bottling up my emotions and letting them all spew out at once unexpectedly. Exercise is probably best. Meditation would be next on my list.

But bottled emotion is like convenience food for my mental health sometimes. It’s easy. It helps me move on with life. However, eventually, my mind has to get rid of the waste and the thought patterns that no longer serve me. Bawling my eyes out is sometimes the way to go. It feels good after it’s all said and done. Kind of.

It’s obviously unnerving when a crying fest gets rolling and reaches the point of no return. The other night, my speaking ability reached the ultimate level of talk-yell-crying. It’s a way of communicating that involves trying to FORCE the words out while desperately trying catch breath. Why even bother trying to verbalize anything? Probably because it has to just come out somehow.

Everything that was bothering me just worked its way out in big spurts of jumbled phrases. Sadness and anger fueled the tears. The feeling of insecurity and disappointment in myself and my twisted view of thinking that I’m not good enough kept the waterworks running. Anxiety was definitely in the mix. Exhaustion? You bet. I accessed emotions that I had conveniently tucked away weeks before. My husband was there to listen, and try to make sense of it all. I don’t know what I would do without him.

There has been SO MUCH INPUT in my life lately. Visual, auditory, digital, sentimental, emergency, you name it. Processing it and taking action has been a challenge. Over the course of the last 5 days, I have become so much more appreciative of others’ experiences, struggles, and perspectives. Everyone who is involved in my life has something so meaningful and genuine to share with me. I’m thankful for it all.

And sometimes, I just need time to cry about it. 

The next morning, I pulled it together, threw my hair in a bun and chose to wear glasses and a T-shirt to work. Thank goodness it was College Wear Wednesday. I also skipped a shower. I took all necessary steps to remedy and treat the eye and face puffiness.

I received compliments about my appearance throughout the day. Mr. Custodian noticed how lovely my hair looks when it’s up. A parent in my room said I look adorable, and I informed her it was my “no time” look. She said she wished she could pull it off. My students questioned my glasses, but they liked them (supposedly).

glasses
The “No Time” look

The words gave me the boost I needed. I was noticed. I was acknowledged. I felt loved. However, I am all of the above, all of the time. My husband and my own children are the first to let me know at the start of every day. Sometimes I carelessly overlook it when I’m stressed. 

There are so many people out there who have not found their support system yet. This week I learned that everyone is allowed to be in tune with their mental state, and seek out connection with others. It takes a lot of courage to be on the listening end. It takes a lot to be the one who offers the space to connect with someone who is vulnerable or sad. This message just so happened to be promoted to the students at my school all week. It impacted me as well. Reach out. Connect. Be brave.

Check out the link to Start With Hello Week and the Sandy Hook Promise. I was inspired and my perspective was regained. Coincidentally, it was the best kind of reset and recharge that I needed. 

Start With Hello Week

balance, mindful, working mom

Would Anybody Like The Last Piece?

My typical workday + mommy duty hours are similar to an amazing holiday pie or a fabulous full sized birthday cake. At the end of the day, you find the awkward last piece. When the last small serving of my personal time and energy remains, I just don’t know what to do with it at times. Someone wants it. Something needs it. Others don’t know how to ask (politely) for it. Who needs it the most? Who or what is most deserving?

cake pops
I call dibs on the crumbs, sticks, and wrappers.

I usually devote these precious bits of bottom of the barrel energy to the “time saving” chores that will help me be get out the door quickly the next day.

Pack the lunches. Pour the baby bottles. Line up the backpacks and other bags. Click in the car seat. Plan the outfits. Decide if it’s a hair washing day tomorrow and plan accordingly.  Send a few last emails (after contracted hours). Capture a spider that is freaking everyone out. Locate the lost shoe that has been missing for 3 days.  

I tried putting all of it on hold the other night, and I forced myself to just enjoy a few installments of my favorite reality TV “housewives” show after everyone else went to bed. It was rare TV viewing that was given my undivided attention. It felt strange. It was somewhat fun. I didn’t really know how to use the remote correctly. 

In the middle of my morning commute the next day, however, I realized what I had forgotten. I left the baby bottles and my work laptop at home. I had also forgotten two non-essential, but nice to have items. Sunglasses and a hoodie. An extra stop was necessary to resolve the absent items. Portions of the pie/cake of my daily routine were quickly given away before the official workday even started. As the day went on, many more people, things, and events needed a piece throughout the day. I served it up. 

So again, at the  end of the day, I’ve been stuck with the crumbs. I decided to just enjoy them. Rather than TV time, I used the tiny bits of energy that I had left and I wrote this post. Time saving chores won’t bring me the same satisfaction that I feel when I do something that makes me happy and balances out the chaos a bit. I enjoyed the last piece. I think I’ll call dibs on it again tomorrow.

Until then,

How do you treat yourself when you have a bit of extra time to spare?

balance, health, mindful, working mom

Red Light Realization

I received an early birthday gift this weekend. On Saturday afternoon while my daughter and I were running errands, we were in the middle of a classic, long-winded, captive audience car conversation. The long winded one was me of course, and the captive one in the backseat had to listen to mommy instead of Spotify for this ride. We were discussing the age differences between various members of our immediate and extended family. I proceeded to tell her that I’m turning 39 in
4 weeks.

Then by some coincidental timing on the roadway, and a wonderful opportunity to be silly, my daughter decided to make the most out of reading the “SPEED LIMIT 40” sign in the most dramatic voice possible. We both cracked up.

I slowed to a stop at the next red light and then I realized something. I’m not turning 39. I’m turning 38. YES. HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY TO ME.

bday wish
We caught some “wishes” during our family walk later on that evening. 

My slight miscalculation brought on some relief, excitement, and a little bit of embarrassment. Am I obsessing over turning the big 4-0 in a couple of years? Maybe. And maybe I should download an app for an accurate countdown.

The truth is, I have encountered a few “reality check” moments and close-to-home realizations over the last week or so that have been exciting, humbling, sad, and scary. Health, wellness, and the opportunity to travel and achieve life goals translates differently in your late 30’s as compared to living life in your early 20’s. At least it has for me. I feel like I finally “get it” with a lot of things in life. But then again, I probably don’t. Either way, all I can do is choose how I react to upcoming events, whether I’m ready for them or not. It’s a good thing I’m not ready to be 39 yet.

Until then,

T minus 3 and a half weeks-ish until the big 3-8. How should I celebrate? What does turning 40 mean to you?