Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Coming Out of Hiding

I disappeared again. Sorry about that.

When things get stressful, I have two ways of dealing with it depending on the level of stress. I either cry more frequently and easily, which means I'm processing it and dealing with it, or I crawl inside of myself and shut down. The second one is the dangerous one. That's where I don't vent and share my concerns, and it leads to dark places. Spring Break couldn't have come at a better time - it's giving me the time and space to extract myself from my protective shell. It's helping, but the fear and stress is still there - every morning I wake up thinking "Oh GOD, I only have X amount of days until I have to go back..." I seriously have a week left, and I'm feeling like it's too short. THAT'S how bad work has become. *sigh*

The other bad part of the crawling inward is that it shuts down all urges to self-care. When I'm in shut-down mode, all I want to do is come home, stuff my face with crap food to stuff down my emotions, then go to sleep and hope I don't wake up. (Told you I get DARK!) So this break from work is also a BREAK from being inside that dark place. I've been hanging out with friends and family every day this week. I've made sure to do some chores every day, and I've home-cooked dinner the last few nights too - it feels so good to WANT to take care of our home, and it's oddly relaxing as well. I was actually dreading being on break, too, because it reminds me too much of being unemployed; considering I'm facing the job hunt again now, it's especially not fun to feel unemployment again. When I'm unemployed, I go to that shut-down place because I hate sitting around doing nothing, when the only thing I HAVE to do is "chores" I feel worthless. It helps that this week I've had a reason to leave the house every day; when I come home or before I leave, I'm willing to do some housework and cook dinner. Maybe THAT'S the secret for my next bout of unemployment: Find a reason to get out of the house every day. I don't do well as a hermit.

The point of this post is to state that I'm improving. I'm not ok yet, but I feel like I'm getting there. I'm trying to figure out how to keep my sanity as I finish up these last few months at the job so that I don't start the summer drowning in misery. That's my goal - it might require some outside help, and that's ok. I'm going to look into it.

Let's end this post on a beautiful note: Friday, the last day of work before the break, some more BS happened. Rather than go home and go into shut down mode, I went to my favorite grocery store and treated myself to a $4 bouquet of flowers - it's bloomed more since and is just GORGEOUS. Best $4 I've spent lately.

Monday, March 4, 2013

What Works For Me: How I Self-Care

stl selfcarethings
Not my creation, but wish it was!
So as I MAY have mentioned
, with my job situation taking a turn for the worse I've tried to make my life take a turn for the best instead. As such, I've been doing a lot of "self-care" - you know, all the things I was avoiding doing out of wanting to be the best employee ever and sacrificing myself for apparently no good reason. (NO I'M NOT BITTER, WHAT MAKES YOU SAY THAT)

As such, ever since mid-January I've actually been feeling a LOT more balance... and go figure, I'm still keeping up just fine at work with less hours. Work is still getting me down (see the last entry), but I've gotten much better about leaving it at work and enjoying my life outside of it.

The things I do for self-care:
  • hot herbal tea before I go to bed
  • painting my nails
  • buying small, cheap bouquets of fresh flowers to set on my dining room table - bright, pretty flowers when I cook/prep in my kitchen make me smile
  • crafting
  • playing volleyball
  • snuggling with my dog/The Hubs
  • making myself look cute (hair, makeup, cute clothes)
  • reading funny comics and the "humor" category of Pinterest
  • watching my "junk food" movies that are just visually lovely
  • spend time with my friends, esp. close friends who will listen to me vent
  • treat myself to little treats, like nail polish or a cute cheap top 
I know this isn't rocket science. It's just what I do to make myself feel better, and so far it's working for me. Despite everything, I am happier more often than I'm not, and my overall attitude is much more positive -  for that I'm grateful, and it also shows me that these little tricks are WORKING, so I want to keep it up.

What do you do to take care of yourself?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

5SG: Sliding Downhill Fast, Climbing Uphill Slow...

This past week was a rough week. ROUGH. Like, questioning-my-self-worth, dreading-getting-up rough.

As such, fighting to be functional meant my goals did not go so hot. Yes, for the second week in a row.

I want to beat myself up about it; I'm excellent at self-flagellation. BUT I'm willing to forgive myself a little this time - usually I'm TOO forgiving of myself when things get rough, but I'm trying to find the happy medium here and preserve some emotional health where I can.

So rather than pinpoint all the things I did WRONG this week, I'm going to point out what I did right:
Daisy is completely unrelated to this post, but she's so cute and there's not enough pictures of her on this blog.
  • Workouts: 2/3. Still need to work on getting that 3rd one in. AND I need to increase the level of activity, I think. Also not doing the back exercises, so need to start that. I'm also going to attempt to work out in the mornings by sleeping in my workout clothes or putting them right under my phone on my nightstand - so they're right there, and I have no excuse to not throw them on and get a quick workout in!
  • Diet soda out, water in (replacing "no night carbs"): Still doing well! I only drink soda with my lunch at work or if I'm out for food, and I have a big pack of bottled water in my car trunk that I grab at least one per day, and drink that while at work. At home, I drink water from my Britta pitcher with a splash of lime juice - it helps trick me into drinking water with "flavor".
  • Big chore: Never did put the Xmas stuff away like I planned. THIS TIME, THOUGH, I SWEAR - IT'S GETTING DONE VERY SOON AFTER THIS ENTRY IS POSTED. Also bought more canvas bins to hold my stuff to help organize my clothes closet - what little organizing I've done so far is actually helping a lot!
  • Night off from electronics: this is the hardest one to do. I didn't realize how addicted I am! ARGH. It is SUCH a part of my life at this point, it's insane. Haven't achieved it yet!
  • Nighttime routine: I was feeling like I failed this one, too, but I realized that I am slowly establishing one without even meaning to. I want to get to the point where I'm doing what I outlined in my original post, but I have noticed that I regularly come home from work, throw on my jammies and remove all of my "armor". Then, after cooking dinner as a way to relax, I make myself a cup of tea (which is also helping me stave off needing dessert). So now I just need to add in the face-washing, teeth-brushing, and lunch-packing and I'm on it like comet!
So I could be worse off, but when I look at what behaviors I'm actually doing, I'm not really as far behind as I thought. My progress is just a little slower than I would like. BUT at least there's progress, and at least I can recognize that there is some progress. It's hard to be nice to yourself when you're so used to hating yourself. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Entitlement and Self-Care

One of the hardest things to do.
As I've hinted before, The Hubs and I are having issues at work. To sum up, we are feeling overworked, under-appreciated, and underpaid.

You know, like most people in America.

To be honest, though, we're both having to deal with superiors who are making our work environment less than ideal. The Hubs is dealing with a micro-managing situation from a supervisor who is kind of a bully. He doesn't process stress well, and it's taking its toll on him.

It's hard to watch him miserable when he leaves for work, and his shutting down when he comes home. It's even harder to know that he can't just up and quit, and take this whole horrible load off his back.

At the same time, though, he CAN'T. WE can't. We're not independently wealthy, we don't play the lottery (but maybe we should), and our parents can't support us should we up and quit OR lose our jobs... plus we are far too old to be doing such things, dammit. Just because something sucks doesn't mean we can just walk away from our responsibilities.

Yet this seems to be the mentality of our society, and in working with the upcoming generations, this attitude is getting worse and more prevalent. Somehow, we've evolved into this mindset that we're "owed" what we want, and when we don't get it, we sink into this mire of depression and blame someone else. Sometimes, it IS the fault of something or someone else, but it takes two to tango and we are partially responsible for what happens to us.

The frustration is, of course, that it is HARD to willingly stay in a situation that makes you miserable because you are obligated to other things or people, esp. when the only "benefit" you get out of the situation is a paycheck. I hate that I can't find a stable work situation so The Hubs could leave his situation (which is infinitely worse than mine). I hate that the state of education is so unstable in general. I HATE that I know I'm not the only person in my circle of friends who is in a similar situation. We work to enjoy our lives outside of work, but what do you do when your work life makes it hard to even do that?

The only solution I can find is to practice self-care, and to find pleasure in everything outside of work. I'm trying to encourage The Hubs to do the same, but I can't control what he does or how he chooses to handle (or not handle) the stress. All I know is that I feel powerless and like the asshole because I'm asking him to try and find a way he can deal with the stress until he finds something better. It feels like my fault because my chosen profession keeps changing its mind about me, apparently, and I can't provide the financial stability that his job does, and it keeps holding us back from getting a place of our own. So I feel at a stalemate. Again.

I hate my job and dread going, too, but all I can do is find something good in every day and believe that my life is working out as it is meant to. I don't believe in fate, I believe that things work out the way they should if we don't try to fight it too hard. I'm not always successful at finding the good, but at least I know my life outside of work is feeling pretty great. I just wish my husband could find the same semblance of peace.


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