Excuses are Easy

It’s been over two months since I’ve last written. When I start to get down, or make the excuse of being too busy, then the first things I tend to neglect, are the things that are most important to my self-care.

When depression hits, my motivation disappears and the excuses creep in even though, deep down, I know it is depression. I know it’s a sign that I am going to be struggling for a while. But, it is easier to make excuses and pretend I am just too busy to get anything done for me instead of admitting there’s this thing that I cannot control that just randomly comes and goes with no explanation. I will never be 100% fine, and I struggle with that fact.

So, I am going to focus on the positive changes that have happened. As far as my book reading goal, I will be starting book 12, tonight! So, I am still ahead of the game. I’ve already read more books this year than I have last year. And, I know that I will continue to read on a regular basis, creating the same goal for next year. Reading at night has been a constant for me, and I no longer beat myself up when I skip a night because I recognize that finding a remedy for my exhaustion is more important in that moment.

I am down 16.8 pounds as of today! I am still doing my fast, which has helped me curb my appetite and has really helped with portion control! I do still indulge occasionally which I want to work on, but if I have a bad snack, I limit myself, and I’ve never done that before.

I started my Couch to 5k program up again. I skipped last week because, well, the cloud (my name for depression), but I am starting week 2 today.

I quit my job I held for almost six years; quit the field I was in for ten. WHAT! I know! I never would have done this if it weren’t for the support of my family. This change was better for my immediate family, overall, and I still have no regrets after almost a month since I left. I normally would feel extreme guilt and regret, but I honestly don’t! I am working from home where, essentially, I am my own boss. I get to have the two youngest babies at home with me, who are so good at entertaining themselves. We have a pretty good routine going for ourselves; I am still just perfecting my own routine.

In addition to my new at-home position, I’ve taken the risk of being a Market Partner with Monat! That is a post in and of itself so I am going to stop for now.

I am going to try to post at least once a week!

I am Grateful for My Body

I hit a milestone today. It took longer than I was hoping, and I am a little behind schedule, but I did it. And, I feel so great about it.

I lost ten pounds. I stepped on the scale today, and it was there. I couldn’t believe it. The changes that I’ve made have been mostly my eating habits. I do still get a workout in here and there but not as much as I used to and not as often as I would like. That is something I am still working on improving.

Ten pounds does not seem like a lot when I look at the whole scheme of things. I have forty more pounds to go to reach my goal weight, but if I can make it to that first ten, I know I can make it all the way to that last ten.

I started intermittent fasting last weekend. Friday, August 6th is the official first day of the fast. I chose the 16/8 fast because it felt like the easiest, and best one to start as a beginner.

So this is how it works. You fast for 16 hours a day and then have an 8-hour window to eat. This doesn’t mean you can eat whatever the heck you want, because the goal is to still eat healthy. I fast from 7pm to 11am and then have my eating window from 11am to 7pm. During the fast, it is encouraged to drink water (you can add lemon), black coffee, and/or tea with no added sugar.

I cannot drink black coffee. I tried it and it is disgusting. So I make my coffee with my almond creamer and set it on my bookself at work until 11am when I heat it in the microwave. It actually does not taste bad reheated like I thought it would!

I’ve been eating normal lunches, and bringing my cottage cheese with blueberries and honey with me that I normally eat at breakfast. I haven’t added on any extra food during my eating window which I thought I would be super hungry and want to!

So here are my observations on how the fasting has benefitted me: it got me to that 10-pound milestone! Before the fast, I was at -8.6 pounds lost. So I lost 1.4 pounds in 5 days. Not too shabby. I don’t feel as tired in the morning (even when I am waiting five extra hours to drink my coffee). I feel more focused at work. I actually don’t feel as hungry as I used to–and I thought I would feel hungrier! This may be TMI-but I am more regular, if you know what I mean.

I am looking forward to the long-term benefits that intermittent fasting has to offer me. I am also looking forward to getting a regular exercise routine going again. I love the way I am feeling, and I am loving my body.

Now, I don’t mean that I love the way my body looks because I am still not satisfied. I am also looking forward to feeling even better when I lose more of the excess weight. But, I am choosing to thank my body every day for doing the amazing things it has done for me.

I have had three babies and two c-sections. My body helped me to grow healthy babies and survived the trauma it endures during pregnancy as well as delivery. My body allowed me to recover amazingly quick from all of my deliveries–with the help and encouragement from nurses. Side note: If I could tell anyone who has the possibility of getting a c-section, I would say to start moving as soon as possible. That is what my nurses encouraged me to do and that is how I was able to recovery quickly.

My body has gone through gaining weight and losing weight, pre-pregnancy. It has helped me to fight off Covid! My body has allowed me to be strung enough to lift and carry tvs and bookshelves when moving into our new home; and I never thought I could ever do that! I am still amazed, impressed, and proud of that..

My body has helped me run my first and only 5k race, after being the girl in high school who would cheat on running the mile (yes, it is possible). My body has also allowed me to carry and deliver a healthy baby girl when diagnosed with gestational diabetes; another benefit of fasting is I noticed my blood sugar has been in the normal range!

My body keeps my heart beating, my brain thinking, my muscles moving, and my blood breathing. These are the things we all take for granted! I love my body for not giving up on me!

Getting Through It

Growth, no matter how small, is an improvement. I’m recognizing my negative patterns and stopping them before they happen. That, is a HUGE step for me. Let me give you some history.

I have suffered from anxiety and depression since probably middle school. My dad’s family would say, “I think she’s depressed!” Because I would sleep all day. At the time, I thought that was stupid but I think they were right. The voice in my head tells me to GET UP and GET OVER IT but I physically cannot make myself do it.

I used to think that the depression was related to the seasons. It was easy for me to blame it on that. Then I would get depressed in the middle of summer, how do you explain that? I used to get depressed after major life events and just assume that the way I was feeling was some kind of grief.

But, I’ve come to realize now, that my depression just is. Right now, as I am writing this, I am feeling really down. Worthless, Unwanted, not good at anything. Even though everything in my life is seemingly great! New home, steady job, supportive partner, loving babies. So, this is why I know my depression is simply a combination of a chemical imbalance and trauma.

So what do I do about this? First step, I set up an appointment with a new doctor that is closer to home. I am using my writing as an outlet. I am trying really hard to focus on my health. I am trying healthy alternatives to traditional medication.

What am I NOT doing? What I started out with: not feeding into my negative thoughts and the negative behaviors that I participate in when I have a depressive episode. I am not shopping. I am not isolating. I am not staying in bed. Most importantly, I am not making any irrational decisions (even though I want to). I have to remind myself that this will pass like it always does. Things aren’t as bad as they seem.

What I hate the most about myself at this time, is feeling ungrateful for the things that I have because I really don’t have anything to complain about, so why am I unhappy??

I am going to get through this, and I am proud that I can recognize my barriers. I know what not to do that and that is a good first step.

Changes

It’s been a while, and a lot has been going on! I don’t know if I am making excuses, or if I’ve really been that busy; right now, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is, because I’ve been so busy, I am not losing focus which causes anxiety.

So, the goal of buying a home has been accomplished. Yay! First-time home buying was, and still is, one of the most stressful experiences of my life. But it is true that it is one of the most rewarding as well.

The next fun part comes with the unpacking and remodeling. Luckily, the remodeling is a want and not a need. But those extra tasks are throwing off my regular routine. My brain also hasn’t figured out that this is the new reality so I just feel weird.

I haven’t been doing a work out routine since the move, which is coming up three weeks. I’ve taken the doggo for a walk in the morning, some days, but I just feel like I am not doing enough. I’ve lost over seven pounds, but this week there was no change. I am starting to get discouraged.

Even though I feel discouraged, there is a part of me that I reminding myself that the new routine will be established and things will feel like normal again; I hope soon.

Part of the reason why I am feeling off is because since taking a few days off at the beginning of the month to move, one (if not all) of the kids have been sick and sent home the past two weeks. When this happens, the mom guilt kicks in and is full blast. It makes me want to do something to be able to find that balance again. But, every day I am on edge, wondering which one will be sent home today.

I’ve also depleted most of my savings to spend on car inspections and repairs. I am happy I had that extra money–because that is what it is there for–but now I have to replenish and I wonder if I will get back to that!

When things pile up at once, I feel incompetent and feel as though I am losing control. Then I just want to retreat. Hide. Quit. But I am NOT going to do that. Because I want to be happy. I want to be happy for myself and for my kids. I want to be a positive influence for others as well. But, part of being that positive influence is being real. Accepting that my issues are real, and not waving them away just because they may not seem as major as other people’s issues.

Lately, I’ve just been wondering why? And, this is it? This is what life is about? Getting up, working, going home, and doing it all over again? Because that isn’t fun for me. I feel so good when I achieve my goals and want to continue to aim for making positive changes. I just need to accept that maybe I will never be completely happy.

I need to pray more. I need to let go and put my full trust and faith in Jesus. I need to be grateful for what I have.

It’s True

Positive change brings about positive results. This is not a gimmick. This is 100% true. The problem that people have with applying this fact to their own lives, is that they lack patience and accountability. It is so easy to just make an excuse or put blame on others when you don’t want to do something hard or when something goes wrong. But we are quick to take credit when we accomplish the easy tasks or when something turns out right. Why is that? I would think that achieving the hard goals would feel so much better. At least, it does for me.

I’ve made some changes in the last few weeks, that were really simple steps, that I kept making excuses for why I wasn’t successful before. I began getting up earlier before work so I could work out and meditate. Yes, I began to meditate before work; after my workout. I also began posting (almost) daily Instagram stories to my wellness account for accountability.

I’ve also taken my time with thinking a situation through rather than being quick to react with anger. I am choosing happiness–as I said I would. I’ve been praying a lot more. I’ve been letting go of control. I’ve been praising myself for the little accomplishments, rather than allowing myself to get overwhelmed because everything has to go my way or I have to be perfect. I remind myself that there was only one person who ever existed who was perfect: Jesus. I was not meant to be perfect, but I was meant to strive to be a better person.

I think there is a good balance between being good to yourself, and sacrificing yourself for others. It may take a lifetime to find this balance, but it is possible. But, you must find the balance for yourself; and not because of what others think you should do.

I am telling you, when you have relationship with God, everything else is just…confetti.

Not everything is perfect in my life. And, I am not sure if I am feeling extra positive because things are falling into place for me; or, things are falling into place because I am choosing to be positive.

The universe is so funny. I love every minute of it.

If you want to follow my journey on Instagram, find me @mamasama_ws

https://www.instagram.com/mamasama_ws/

Happiness is a Choice

You never know what you are capable of doing until you just do it. That little voice in your head that continuously tells you that you can’t do it or that you aren’t enough may very well always be there. That voice may be the strongest when you feel as though you are on top of the world. Don’t let that voice defeat you!

That voice has been beating me down for as long as I can remember, and for over a year now, I have just been letting it continue to stomp me into the ground. A few people, very close to me, have been telling me “you’re too hard on yourself.” I don’t want to admit it, but they are right. The one thing I stopped doing is comparing myself to others which is an accomplishment! But, now I compare myself to my past self or to some phantom future version of myself; the alternative version of myself who I see being way more bad ass if I had made some different choices. That’s not fair to me right now though. I know that not comparing myself to others is a positive change for me, and along with that I’ve also tried to look at my past negative experiences and being mistreated as a reflection of my choices; not blaming others for the way that I am. That isn’t to ignore how I’ve been treated but it doesn’t put fault on that either; I am in control of myself and my choices.

One of the best choices I have made just in the last two weeks is to stop making excuses. I’ve stopped making my mental health the reason why I can’t get up in the morning, or the kids (ha). I’ve stopped making excuses as to why I “need” a soda or junk food; or why I deserve it. I’ve stopped making excuses as to why I don’t have time for myself, or why I can’t save money, or why I can’t pick up a hobby, or why I have to put everyone else before me. Basically, I stopped making excuses as to why I choose to be unhappy; because, that is what all of these excuses are evidence of–the choice to be unhappy.

Yes, YOU CHOOSE TO BE UNHAPPY. I AM CHOOSING TO BE UNHAPPY. Those two statements are 100% true. Wow. As I type that out, I am realizing that is exactly what I have been doing. Isn’t it weird to think about someone choosing to be unhappy? Why would anyone choose that?

I don’t know. I can tell you the reason I chose to be unhappy. It’s easy. It’s easy to make excuses. It’s easy to procrastinate. It’s easy to blame someone else. It’s easy to be the martyr. It’s easy to complain. It’s. so. easy. It’s easy because no one likes to admit when the choices they make are sometimes the wrong ones. It’s easy because we don’t fail at achieving our goals if we never make them, right?

I need to set goals for myself. Checklists. Organization. Accomplishment. I thrive off of all of that. So it is funny to me that for a long time, I just didn’t want to do it. I just wanted to sit in unhappiness and self-pity. But man, one little change gives me the strength to simply say no to unhappiness. This doesn’t mean that I am going to be satisfied all the time and this doesn’t mean that there won’t be days where I don’t have accomplishments. It just means I am going to choose to believe in myself and fight back in that battle with the voice in my head who says I can’t do it. This means, I am going to believe the praise.

I am so proud of myself for continuing this 30-Day exercise challenge. I’ve gotten up early enough to complete little tasks around the house, complete my 30-day workout, and complete additional workouts I set up for myself. I’ve completed 11-days of this challenge so far, and I’ve been posting daily stories on my Instagram account. I’ve been holding myself accountable, even if no one else is watching. This is what I mean by choosing happiness. I AM HAPPY! I’ve noticed myself being more calm, and even more organized. I’ve noticed that I’ve been reminding myself that I don’t have to cannonball right into the deep end when it comes to my health goals, and even my work goals. It is okay to walk in from the shallow end, slowly.

I’ve even been writing in my journal each morning, and still reading at night. I am on book 8 of the year–which is the amount of books I finished in 2020, so I am well on my way to surpassing that goal.

This is the evidence that I can do this, and I will do this. This is showing me that I am enough, that I don’t have to be “too hard” on myself, that I am deserving of happiness. I choose happiness.

I Forgot I Can Do This

I forgot how awesome it felt to get up earlier in the morning and have time to accomplish things. I almost let my snooze win, but this time I cam out of the battle victorious.

The first of May felt like a great starting point for some positive changes. I’ve been making small changes along the way, but have had more struggles than anticipated. I was not sure why this particular date stuck out to me. I’ve mentioned before that the first of the month is always a perfect time for a new beginning. I also just felt tired of how I was feeling; how I was still making excuses. So, I really thought about my goal for my physical fitness. I wanted a realistic goal that was going to be healthy. This whole saga began because I wanted to lose weight, and feel better about myself. But, I was distracted and my mental and spiritual health moved to the top of the priority list. As the importance of those aspects of my life began to rise, so did the number on the scale. This added to my motivation and decision to focus on my physical health again.

I began thinking about my ideal weight, and what it would take to get there. It would take losing 50 pounds. This sounds overwhelming to think about, but I am giving myself a year to lose this weight; a year from 05/01/2021. This is realistic, and would be a healthy way to achieve my goal.

Some of the initial steps that I have been taking towards reaching my goal is to pack my lunch in the evenings after dinner so I am not inclined to just buy something the next day if I am running late (which I am always running late). I am adding more vegetables back into my daily consumption, and really focusing on portion control. I am also cutting out soda and chocolate again; which, has started to become a bad habit of my family’s on weekends when we just veg out.

I found an achievable 30-day workout challenge to begin as well. I started the 30-Day Early Bird Workout Challenge this morning. I want to complete a new challenge each month! I am also journaling more again; I’ve been writing down everything I eat and then later adding it to MyFitnessPal account. I also plan to start writing whenever I have a craving for soda or chocolate (the struggle is so real).

A daily goal that I have been struggling with since beginning this entire saga is getting up early like I used to. I know there is something that really kicked my butt into gear that happened last night–which I am keeping to myself because it is rather petty, but hurt enough to open my eyes–and I am happy that I got up with every intention to go walking with the dog. But it was pouring, and instead of making that as an excuse to go right back to bed I stayed up to complete Day 1 of the challenge. I also had time to finish up the dishes, sweep the kitchen, and sit down to eat breakfast. As I ate breakfast, I wrote in my journal. I plan to get up in time to drink my coffee at home so I am not sipping on it all day at work; this way, I can drink nothing but water at work.

As I am writing this, I am thinking about all the little goals I have in store for myself, and I am a little afraid that I will just make another excuse. But, I am tired of how I am feeling! I know that I can achieve my goals, because I am accomplishing goals in other areas of my life that I would normally neglect. I want to create a routine for my physical health so people don’t roll their eyes anymore when I say that I am going to exercise or cut out junk food. Trust me, I roll my eyes at myself at times.

I also want to be a role model for my children, and be able to show average moms like me how it can be done.

Focusing on Blessings

“I believe I am exactly where I am supposed to be in this point in my life,” I said to an old friend that I recently reconnected with. I used to dwell on the What-might-have-beens, if only I wasn’t too afraid. I used to compare myself to others (still do, at times) and feel as though I was behind in life because I wasn’t exactly where other people, my age, or younger were at in their lives.

Part of improving my mental health is to let go. I am trusting my journey in the hands of God. Even if you aren’t a religious person, I hope you can trust in letting go of complete control. I am sorry if you don’t believe that there is some kind of higher power watching over you, and guiding you in your journey. It is such a blessing to have that feeling that you are not alone, and you do not have to carry that burden.

This doesn’t mean that you let go of all responsibility for your actions. I think there are lessons in your path. I almost got stuck in a house that had more trouble than what it was worth; and I wondered why the process was allowed to get as far as it did–to the point of even losing a significant amount of money–but I a reminded that maybe it had to get that for for me to be reminded to be patient.

And now there are more opportunities happening. And now I am happier about just letting things go that are out of my control. I am also being reminded of how I should appreciate what I have.

Everything truly is in God’s hands. He shows us the exact path we should be following, even if it is simply because it will be a lesson learned.

I am praying that things work out the way they are supposed to, and that I continue to be reminded of the blessings that I have right now.

I must admit, I am slacking in all other wellness goals at the moment because I am so focused on this goal; my dream home.

But, I am still saving money with my money saving challenges. I am still working on my reading challenge; I am on book #5 of the year–well on my way to surpassing the number of books I’ve read in 2020.

Sometimes, it is okay to focus on one goal at a time.

If Only I Had More Time…

We have all said this. “If I had more time, I would just be able to do this, and that and the other thing. But , I just don’t have more time!” Yes you do. We have 24 hours in a day. That is a lot of time to accomplish tasks. I know most people work 8 hours a day, and have to include travel time. But we can do this, if we evaluate how we are spending our time.

I am a great list maker, and I manage my time well–at work anyway. But, it is easy for me to get distracted, or to fall in line with others’ unhealthy habits. On the weekends, I end up making excuses as to why I don’t want to do something. But, then I am frustrated at myself because I didn’t get something done, and now it is really bothering me!

I was just thinking about my goal to work out–which is not going well at all, and I have been thinking about ways to make some extra money without it cutting into my family time. I really only get two days with my family. During the week, I am cooking dinner for them, packing lunches, and then getting everything around for the next day. Lately, I’ve been feeling like just someone in the background getting things done. It affects me negatively; but I enjoy doing these things for my family.

I began thinking about when I can find the time do do things and to do things for me…because when I am not happy, it affects others. I need time for me. I need time to accomplish my goals. But when and how?

This lead me to thinking about how I cannot get up in the morning, and how I stay up later at night. I spend my nights reading, so that is one goal that I have been working on consistently (yay!). I realized that if I could just function on less sleep time, then I could do stuff at night and in the morning!

So how do I do that? How? How do I shut off my brain at night, and force myself to get up in the morning? I remember how great it felt when I would get up with my husband, and get a walk/run in and still have time to do some chores; and I just feel like such a disappointment when I realize that I have not done this in months.

One of the steps we give clients at work is to break down how they spend their time in a week. There are 168 hours in a week. 168. Can you believe that? What can you do with 168 hours? How are you spending your time? I need to reevaluate how I am spending my time in one week, and cut out some unnecessary laziness. I make the excuse that my depression bogs me down, which is does, buy I cannot let it defeat me. I cannot and will not.

I am going to do this activity, and make a plan as to how I can manage my time even better. If I have to get up earlier than everyone else on the weekends just to get stuff done, I will. I need a change. I need to do things for myself. That’s what this wellness saga is all about. I am at the end of the 3rd month of the year and feel like I am not accomplishing a damn thing; because of fear and excuses.

So tell me, what are some suggestions you have for my current barrier of not being able to get up in the morning? I already take melatonin at night to help me fall asleep. What would you suggest for ways to be able to function on less sleep? What helps you?

How I Hate to Love Credit Cards

I’ve had a roller coaster relationship with credit cards since freshman year of college. My first credit card came to me in the form of those generic pre-approval letters that come in the mail. My mom convinced me to get a credit card to start building my credit, and my step-father put a plane ticket on the credit card to pay it off immediately; getting me started on my journey to adulthood.

But, it was all downhill after that. I purchased stupid stuff on my credit card, because “free” money right? Or so, that’s how I viewed it in my head. I kept up with my payments, but only the minimum payment. No one tells you that it will take forever to pay off if you keep putting things on the credit card that you cannot afford at that moment.

Then I would get credit increases, and more offers. Soon, I was getting some sort of high by watching how much my credit would increase. I honestly think that was my favorite part of having credit cards; I felt fancy and trustworthy.

Well. Then, I got stupid. There was a point in my life that I moved back in with my parents because of a career change. That was the perfect opportunity to start paying off my debts because I didn’t have any other bills. I was well on my way of doing so until I met a guy. This is a long stupid story in itself, but the point is, I maxed out most of my credit cards on him. Man, I was stupid–and not just because of this choice. Ten years later, I am still so mad at myself for the life choices I made back then!

So for a while, I didn’t have any credit cards, and I was working on paying the ones I had off; or, accepting settlement deals for each–this doesn’t help one’s credit very much but it is better than letting it go completely.

The fact that I couldn’t get a credit card at this time in my life helped me out. I wasn’t tempted to buy things that I couldn’t afford in that moment, and I learned how to budget.

And then…it happened again. Credit cards started sending me offers, and I was curious about how much my credit limit would be. I first would use them for emergencies. Then I would use them for special occasions. Then I would use them to feel good. And then I found myself not being able to afford even the minimum payments. So I just let it go.

Letting it go gave me so much anxiety, but I didn’t know what else I could do. So, I found myself at the point of not being able to get any offers for credit, and that was okay by me. But I was disappointed in myself that I couldn’t handle it again. People can be addicted to anything, and I was…AM addicted to the feeling of getting new things and deals; which surprises me considering I hate feeling cluttered.

So where am I at now? Last year, I paid off two of those recent credit cards for less than what I owed. I set up a payment plan for another credit card, that I paid on for a year and then was able to settle the account. I have one left that is in collections that I will be setting up a payment plan for. I have a Walmart credit card that only has a $100 limit on it, and it has a zero balance right now.

But, someone took a chance on me again. I have a new credit card with a significant limit on it; however, I have not used it for anything. I just transferred all of my monthly subscriptions over to it, so I only use it for those, and I can pay it off each month. To be honest, I am really nervous about having another credit card. I know I am no good at them. But, I want to try to be better.

So, my advice for anyone contemplating getting a credit card: don’t do it. If you want to build credit, get a secure credit card where you put a deposit down of your own money and spend it that way. If something is telling you that you don’t want to do it that way, then maybe do it the way I am by putting subscriptions on the credit card that you know you can afford (because you’ve been paying them already, right?) and that you will pay off each month. Or, use it for gas only; anyone with a vehicle uses gas, and already pays that each month anyway. Find a credit card that offers rewards and cashback as an added bonus. But, if you can avoid an unnecessary monthly payment, then just nix it all together. I am saving an extra $50 per month by paying off two of my accounts; that adds up to an extra $600 a year (plus more because I am not paying interest).

I still have that addiction, but I am using it in a healthy way this time. I get excited with the cashback apps I use (which I will dedicate another post to) and I feel good when I can put money back for my kids’ as well as continue to contribute to my money saving challenges.

My journey with credit cards was a hard lesson to learn. I cannot change the stupid mistakes I’ve made, but I am well on my way to creating positive financial habits.