Sunday, September 29, 2019

Action v Anxiety

Not sure where I first heard this "the antidote to anxiety is action" but it immediately rung true for me, and yet I continue to forget/ignore the lesson.

I've had a roiling pit of free flowing anxiety and fear over some work-related stuff I need to do for the past couple of weeks. So of course, I did the reasonable thing and completely ignored it, busying myself with all manner of other work to avoid having to deal with it ("work is the most dangerous form of procrastination", which I'm sure I heard from Gretchen Rubin and was skeptical about, because I have LOTS of other procrastination tools). And the pit grew. I would wake up in the middle of the night worrying about it. Every day it was on my list and every day I decided other things were more pressing.

Yesterday morning I sat down, opened up the files, and just started typing. I worked for hours (even more hours after I wrote yesterday's post). And I FINISHED.

I got comments back today, and did more proofreading and editing, but I feel pretty good about it.

All done, 2 weeks ahead of deadline.  A big HUGE load off.

NOW I'll watch some more TV and read a book.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

On My Own

So I have a weekend to myself! G and the boys went camping, since the kids had Friday and Monday off school and he was able to take time off. My Friday and Monday clinics are packed and I have a lot of work to do (call week followed by a very clinic heavy week!) so I stayed behind. I miss them and the fun they are having, but I was also very much looking forward to a chance to catch up.

So far its been boring and glorious. Yesterday I came home and just...chilled. I ordered Thai food, poured some wine, finally watched the last episode of Handmaid's Tale (OMG! If you are not watching this, you 100% need to be!) and binged a new show, Ramy, on Hulu (very funny/cringy and unique, which is my jam, I wholly recommend). I went to bed at 10 and slept amazingly well for 10 (!!) hours.

I woke up, had coffee, took the dog on a walk, and sat down to work. I haven't budged from this chair in the living room for 5 hours but I completed and sent off several documents well ahead of deadline! Tomorrow I will probably go into my office to do stuff it is easier to do on the intranet and with a large monitor, like an IRB continuing review, updating my CV in the university faculty database, and closing out clinic charts. I can do all this from home but its clunkier on my tiny Mac Book Air and I don't mind the change of location. I'm also going to go to a yoga class tomorrow morning, which I generally avoid because its at a bad time for family stuff. I skipped working out today because I was so very sore from back to back beach body extreme workouts this week and needed a rest day.

It is now only 3 pm. Brain is tired so no more work but I'll do some light housework (laundry and changing sheets) and then watch more TV (I need to finish Season 2 of Fleabag). I am going to watch a play, all by myself, tonight (I have season tickets with friends, but I couldn't go with everyone else so changed my ticket to tonight because why not?) Would it be weird to take myself out to dinner beforehand?

Monday, September 16, 2019

I need a weekend from my weekend...

We've had some extremely fun, but also very full weekends lately. Lots of adventures---we did day trips to the beach the past two Sundays, family bike rides and hikes and picnics, get-togethers with friends, G and I went to a concert Friday night, etc... I purposefully made plans to take advantage of the weather and ample opportunities, but when you are out the whole time certain things fall to the wayside.

The house is a MESS, and I haven't been keeping up with the kids new whiteboard system, laundry is piling up, and the guest room remains a staging area for bags of stuff (well, it WAS in bags until the kids dumped it all out at some point) to donate/recycle/otherwise deal with.

I am a big fan of going out and doing things, especially things that actually bring me joy*. And I know that there is nothing relaxing or refreshing about a weekend doing chores and refereeing siblings squabbles in the house. But I WOULD like to be able to sleep in, and go do a workout at the gym (instead of setting my alarm to a crazy hour to fit in an abbreviated at-home workout), and sit down for an hour or two to deal with all the random minutiae that are falling through the cracks. And plan Halloween costumes, and L's birthday party. And maybe have some energy at the end of the evening to actually watch a show!

We are out again next weekend, so I gotta keep waiting though.

*The best part about older kids is that so much of what we all do together is really and truly fun for me, too. Except for 3-hour long games of Monopoly.  And certain Super-hero movies. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019


Whenever I tell my therapist I feel something or think something negative about myself or my life, she rephrases it as "a PART of you thinks/feels/believe that". And then points out the various other parts of me that made the choices and decisions for some reason. Even if that reason was "I felt like it at the time". The whole thing she is doing is getting me to see which emotions/impulses bring on which behaviors, so that instead of being triggered and reactive, I can step back and be intentional about my actions, decisions, and coping mechanisms.

For example, last night I was so mentally drained after a painful clinic and frustrating evening with the kids (I rushed home and dragged them to swim lessons only for the instructor to not show due to a miscommunication and they were grumpy and annoying the whole time there/waiting/back). Also my shoulder is hurting again and its a constant, tiring ache. When they finally got to bed at 9 pm I was spent, and probably should've gone to bed, but I had that (rare for me) feeling that I wanted to stay up and take some time for ME, probably because nothing in the entire day brought me joy or even satisfaction (and I didn't have a book to read!). But I was didn't have the motivation to actually DO anything, so I poured a glass of wine and grabbed a snack and set to scrolling and wasting time for a good 30-45 minutes. I may have refilled the wine along the way.

It was later then I wanted to go to bed, I slept poorly because of the wine, and was beating myself up this morning for setting back my health goals. The typical cycle of being depleted, seeking comfort/relief in "easy" ways and then feeling like crap about my choices. Why do I keep doing this?

Apparently I've never learned to "feel my feelings" nor have I learned how to deal with them except by distraction and numbing---scrolling, eating, drinking, shopping (I've gotten WAY better about this, but the urge strikes sometimes)...even some seemingly positive behaviors like reading, exercise, and planning can be used as distractions if I'm trying to avoid unpleasant emotions. (and I definitely admit I've been staving off work stress by planning NEXT SUMMER).

Tonight I'm supposed to take 10 minutes after the kids go to bed to just sit by myself and think or journal about my feelings and what I actually need in the moment. I'm almost 100% sure what I really need would be to go to bed. I'm very tired, every part of me.

Friday, September 6, 2019

In the swing of things...

Kept procrastinating on the camping vacation post and lost the momentum to write it and well, you know how it goes.

Kids are back in school this week. The sitter has been coming and its going quite well, though we're all still getting to know each other. Its been an easy week, no homework or activities yet, so next week will really put things to the test.  Both kids are doing swimming (the same class) once/week. This is the "pre swim team" level to work on breathing and stroke techniques, since they both want to do swim team later in the year (its at the Y and very chill according to a friend whose kids are in it). L is doing soccer at the park nearby (this particular program only goes to age 7, so B can't do it). We are also trying to set up social skills again for B, but so far the only time she offered me was 7:30 PM. Um no. We are trying really really hard to get the boys into their room by 8 and lights off by 8:30.

So after school the past few days they've just been playing tag and riding bikes at the school park for hours on end (as if they hadn't spent the whole day there already, "but mom, we can't ride bikes at school", fair enough).  Its been challenging trying to get dinner done and them into bed on time, but I also know this nice weather and sunlight is fleeting and there will be plenty of evenings at home soon enough. Both kids have been OBSESSED with playing Monopoly lately so I suspect they make be breaking that out right now (its rainy). Better you than me, babysitter...

This has been a light week clinic-wise, yet I didn't make much progress on writing. I'm in a weird headspace related to work and on the brink of some big decisions, so its been hard to work on boring & trivial-seeming shit like incorporating a THIRD (fourth?) round of nitpicky co-author changes into a manuscript we've been sitting on for YEARS...I mean I honestly don't give a fuck care enough at this moment.

I'm very happy its Friday and looks like a lovely weekend ahead. We don't actually have any set plans, but I've got some  ideas of outdoor things we can do (day trip to beach, long family bike ride)...I'll have to chat with G tonight and figure it all out. At the very least we can spend hours and hours at the park and the boys will be happy. And Friday is always pizza & movie night which we all really need. No cooking/cleaning and easy entertainment. We have been doing really well planning and cooking meals the past couple of weeks (maybe I'll start posting a menu?) but its definitely hard work.

Damn I miss the "Ana method" of one big meal for the week, but the truth is that the boys eat enough that we literally can't ever cook enough to last more than 2 dinners without it being ridiculous, and they are also much more willing to try new things these days so we are enjoying more variety.  This week we had: chicken & spinach quesadillas, salmon burgers with arugula salad, hot dogs for kids/leftover salmon burgers for adults (kids choice, first day of school), Indian style roasted chicken thighs with rice and roasted cauliflower, & huevos rancheros with chorizo. We've been going through our meal delivery kit recipes for a couple meals a week and then improvising/or using our own recipes the others.  If they don't like the meal (or, as often happens, are still hungry afterwards) they get: fruit, PB toast or cheerios & milk. If they don't like the veggie (they never do), I always have steamed broccoli or peas for B and raw carrots or cucumber for L.

I already planned for next week (L asked for turkey burgers and both kids begged for Indian chicken)
Saturday--leftovers from the week (we have roast chicken, rice, huevos fixings and will have pizza)
Sunday--Indian chicken curry, Instant-pot daal (I made extra and froze it last time!), and eggplant curry with naan/rice
Monday---pasta with vegan Alfredo sauce and peas (from this month's Real Simple)
Tuesday--(back to school night so needs to be quick) leftover Indian food
Wednesday--Turkey burgers, salad
Thursday--omelets with bacon/veggies & toast

I've also been getting up to do beach body workout most days the past 2 weeks. I alternate amongst the 21 Day Fix and Fix Extreme workouts which gives me about 3 weeks of unique 30 minute combinations so I don't get bored. I'm also trying to get to 1 barre class a week & may try to go to beginner yoga on Sunday. I will say that the BB (especially the extreme, but even the regular if you really use good form and heavy weights) workouts are HARD. I'm sweating like crazy even in our cool basement and sore in new places the next day. I"m so glad I found something I can easily do at home, since a lot of my fave Y and barre classes have been cancelled for various reasons.

Have a great weekend! Back to my boring trivial shit!