My Resolution | 2020

Happy Thursday ♥ I skipped book day with Steph & Jana because I haven’t finish any books lately (surprise, surprise) but I’m showing up today. I listed some goals for 2020 a few weeks ago but I have a resolution to share, too.

My New Year’s resolution isn’t just for the year… it’s for the decade and (hopefully) forever. This isn’t a “new year, new me” kind of thing… It’s a “how can I nurture my mental health and fully enjoy life in this season and seasons to come” kind of thing.

So what is it?

I want to live in the present and fully enjoy (or at least experience) my time right now.

The season of life I’m in right now is tough & tiring, slow-paced with subtle achievements. It’s easy to miss or overlook or dismiss little victories & developments. It’s easy to wish for longer sleeps at night & more mobile and active baby days.

The thing is… those future days are going to happen. M is going to grow up and start talking and moving and sleeping etc. And when they happen, I can enjoy them for what they are. These days- the 2am cuddles and itty bitty onesies and first smiles & coos & babbles- are only going to happen right now. To reference 50% of country songs and 100% of seasoned parent advice, it won’t be like this for long.

So no more wishing the days away. No more “I can’t wait until … .” No more looking ahead to the next chapter while moving blindly through my current one. That’s not to say I can’t be excited about days to come. I will look forward to the future, but not with tunnel vision.

What am I hoping to achieve with this resolution? What changes do I hope to make?

Mindfulness (which is the root of living in and experiencing the moment) leads to decreased anxiety and depression. I’m hoping to experience more frequent and natural joy.

I hope to improve upon my patience. Less getting frustrated about things. Less getting frustrated with K or Bristol or M or myself. (Enzo very, very rarely frustrates me.)

I want to acknowledge and practice gratitude. When I’m home I want to be grateful for the time I spend with my family. When I’m at work I want to be grateful for a job I love. When I’m working out I want to be grateful for the ability and time. Et cetera.

I really do love my life. I feel incredibly blessed to have the family & friends and comfort and opportunities that I do. I never want to take my reality for granted. And I hope my resolution helps me to fall in love with my life, over and over.

I’ve shared my resolution with K. I’ve told him I want to cut the phrase “I can’t wait until/for…” from my vocabulary. I’m hoping he holds me accountable to this mentality and practice. (This is me giving you permission to call me out, dear.) I know I can’t be joyful or patient or grateful ALL the time… but I can certainly be those things more often than I am right now.

So here’s to living for today, patiently looking forward to tomorrow, and experiencing every moment as it happens, while it’s happening.

Your Mental Health & Mine

Originally today was going to be a rant-y day. I had stuff to complain about and dramatic stories to tell. My post was all queued up and ready to go but to be perfectly honest, I’m not feeling it right now.

(I won’t keep you in suspense. I was going to talk about my week without K, the absurdity of “hate-reading/-watching/-following”, and my love for Amazon clothes. Very random.)

I haven’t gotten a good rant out on here in a while, and I tried to come up with something (a.k.a. the hate-follow thing), but I’m really not into it. That’s not to say I’m not irritated about stuff (the government, work situations, internet trolls, etc.), but writing is my outlet and I don’t want to funnel that toxicity through my brain & into my hands, forever etched in words here. I’m trying to find ways to acknowledge and give a nod to these feelings, then let them go without making any kind of permanent, negative impact on me. Less time focusing on drama, more time figuring out how to improve myself, my world, and myself in the world.

That sounds kind of hippy and I’m ok with it… I’ve drawn most of this from recent yoga and meditation classes, as well as other efforts to keep my mind aware and present.

In my life I struggle BIG with anger and jealousy and full-body sadness sometimes. It’s not an ocean that I drown in, but those feelings come in huge waves that knock me off my feet. I feel broken and less than and like a failure of a human when I allow these emotions to overcome me. I thought the answer was building a wall against the bad and trying to flood the inside of my mental fort with happiness.

The last few guided meditations I’ve done have kind of been the opposite. I’ve been focusing & letting those events or people or feelings IN. Taking notice of them, acknowledging that they had a place and a purpose, and then letting them go. Or sending good energy toward them. Or just simply accepting that I feel that way and being ok with it.

All of this in my head with no check list to mark or line item to cross off. That’s a tough pill to swallow for me, honestly. I like physical, concrete solutions and closure. But just because it’s happening inside my head, why on Earth should that mean that it is not real? 😉

And this has helped my daily attitude and my reaction to other people and events outside my control. I still get angry and sad and jealous when my environment is less than ideal, but more often now I don’t scold myself for feeling that way or release those emotions on the people around me. (Sometimes I still have terrible reactions and forget to apply awareness to my situations. I’m not perfect, I haven’t perfected this whole mind over matter thing.) I’m trying to live with my emotions, in the moment, and release them before moving on to the next moment.

I have a good memory and I’ve always held grudges- this practice helps me to “release” those grudges. I internalize problems, both mine and those I love- this awareness helps me to recognize the problem and empathize with them, but not to carry the weight when there’s little I can do. I have a lot of pride and, despite my introvert tendencies, I have FOMO sometimes- but when I’m aware of what I’m doing and what needs to be done to accept the situation, I’m a little better at just letting things go.

Don’t take this as a ‘yay, me’ post. I screw up & fall short all the time, but it helps decrease my anxiety when I filter out the drama and (try to) remain in awareness of my strong emotions. I once wrote a post about my mental diet, and adhering to the limits I’ve set for myself in regards to outside noise helps, too.

I’m sharing this today because I think anxiety and depression is wide spread and hopefully this is helpful for someone. Your brain is an organ and it’s important to monitor, exercise, nourish, and heal your brain (just like your heart or lungs). And when it is unhealthy or tired, you should take care of it. I’m a big believer in meditation, awareness, therapy, medication, etc. Take care of yourself and do so without shame.

Shoutout to my incredible local yoga studio, Be Yoga. I get so much out of my practice and participation there.

And to my blog friends and physical friends, when the world is crushing and you’re feeling out of control, I’m one email, text, or phone call away.

Being OK With Being Enough

Lately I’ve been struggling with self-worth. I’ve noticed moments of jealousy, comparison, anger, judgement, and frustration pop up. I know- even in those moments- that my reactions are a result of being unhappy with myself, but I have been struggling with silencing the negative voices and curing my insecurities at their root.

I can feel the spiral as it’s happening, which is incredibly frustrating because isn’t the biggest “cure” of anxiety or wild emotions the ability to be aware of your triggers and emotions as they happen? I am fully aware of them- sometimes I even say aloud, “Audrey, what is wrong with you? Chill! Why are you feeling this way?!” But they’re still there.

I’ve been advised to invest in the awareness route. I tend to shut down emotionally or dive head first into distraction when things become overwhelming. I know that’s not right or healthy, but it’s a comfortable band aid. I’m going to give the awareness approach a shot next month, though. We’ll be flying to Dallas and I plan to NOT distract myself into oblivion and, instead, embrace every moment of the flight. (WISH ME LUCK. WOOF.)

But it’s tough to apply this practice when it comes to emotions. I am OVER THE DAMN MOON for my friends and their accomplishments. I’m even happy for acquaintances and strangers who have good things happen for them. But every once in a while, usually when I’m overwhelmed with 15 other things, I feel envy or judgement creep into my happy heart and turn it bitter. It’s frustrating.

I want to be skinnier, good at my job, more charismatic. I want to write a book and grow my own vegetables and travel with friends. I want to kick my flying fear to the curb and cure my lifelong acne and enjoy coconut milk. And honestly, no one is standing in my way. But Bitter Betty is a sneaky b*tch.

I am a STRONG girls support girls & empowered women empower women advocate but I am a human, too. I can be a catty, mean person in my head and to myself at times. I’m always looking for a way to fix that.

All that to say, if you’re riding any certain struggle bus today we can share a seat. No one is perfect. You vent to me and I’ll vent to you, and together we can figure out ways to be kinder, gentler, graceful humans in this world of comparison.

*I know things are tough right now. Speak up, donate, and love your neighbor fiercely.

 

A Mental Diet

After I wrote my fall TV show post I started thinking about all the shows I’d like to watch, but can’t. It’s a funny thing to say considering I’m an adult and I can technically do whatever I want (within reason/the law), but similar to how we know we shouldn’t each donuts and ice cream and cake for dinner every night, I know there are shows I shouldn’t watch.

This is not a moral or biblical “shouldn’t.” It’s a mental health kind of “shouldn’t.” If I drink Mt. Dew & eat potato chips for every meal I know I will be physically unhealthy. If I binge on Game of Thrones or This Is Us or Criminal Minds I know I will make myself mentally unhealthy. And like food, we all have a different threshold for “too much.” We all prefer different flavors- we all process those foods (or shows) differently. I don’t enjoy pie, but a lot of people love it – I don’t enjoy GOT, but a lot of people love it.

I think it’s important to know what you can and can’t do mentally. I have never enjoyed violent television shows. I don’t like anything that fixates on the drug culture (Shameless, Breaking Bad, OITNB) or anything with violent or rape undertones (The Handmaid’s Tale, OITNB, Game of Thrones). It doesn’t both me one bit that people enjoy these shows- I just know that I don’t.

In my early twenties I used to love Law & Order SVU, CSI, and Criminal Minds. In my teens I watched General Hospital, Grey’s Anatomy, and other dramas. Somewhere along the lines I realized that I internalized the drama, fear, suspicion, and paranoia that the characters in these shows portray. I let it affect me and I carried it with me. When K would leave for business trips I’d have terrible dreams about kidnapping and murder. I honest to God believed someone was living in our attic. (And I love to be alone- having him gone was not the issue. My brain was the issue.)

So I stopped watching shows like this.

This mental healthy “diet” isn’t restricted to television. There are songs and artists that I avoid for emotional reasons. (I’d guess many music lovers are nodding their heads.) There are books I know I shouldn’t read or I should space out. (Thrillers make me shake- my body actually quivers while I read them. Holocaust and slavery-era books completely destroy me.) Obviously there are movies I’d never touch. I watched Django: Unchained with my family once and I felt sick for a week.

Perhaps it sounds silly at first, but if we’re careful about what we feed our bodies nutritionally, why wouldn’t we keep tabs on how other stimulants make us feel?

We all feel things extremely differently. It’s why menus & Netflix & the TV Guide have so many options. I would challenge you to pay attention to how television shows and songs and movies make you feel. I know that I shouldn’t have a milkshake every night, but once is a while is totally fine. I know I can’t read a book like The Handmaid’s Tale every week, but every so often is fine. Knowing what’s good for you in all forms of ingestion is important to your health.

So pay attention to how television shows make you feel. Do you walk away from Grey’s Anatomy feeling dramatic and bitchy? Do you walk away from GOT with a little bit of rage? Evaluate how affected you are and how your personality differs after you take in a program or movie. Set some limitations for yourself and find a healthy mix.

(Or maybe I’m just crazy 😉 Are you completely unaffected by shows? I’m genuinely curious.)