Feeling Good in a Shitty Time

The last few weeks have not been normal, for any of us. Some of our lives have truly been negatively impacted. Some of our lives are just different enough that we feel the need to sit and complain all day. Some of us our simply lost with the new simplicity of life. The thing we can all agree on is that this is truly a shitty time.

The thing about this shitty time isn’t that it is affecting one person, one group of people, one class of people, or one nation. This shitty time is affecting the entire world. Hopefully by the time you are reading this post, things have started to improve. Hopefully life doesn’t feel as shitty.

But, as I am sitting here writing this, I know that none of us know how long this pandemic will go for. None of us know how long our lives are going to be affected.

As I am writing this, it is almost three weeks since I cut my last work trip short and came home. It is almost three weeks since my company killed all travel. It is less than that since we have had to redesign our main offering to assist the lives of seniors without ever setting foot in their home. It is only a few hours since the county that I’m in enacted a public health order putting legal ramifications on doing anything outside of the home that is not essential.

In the past three weeks, I thought I had this work from home thing down. I’ve been doing it off and on for years and didn’t think anything would really be that different for me.

I was wrong.

I didn’t typically shower or get ready (makeup and hair) when I worked from home. I would shower as needed (my dry skin truly thanked me) and keep my hair braided or something. I sure as hell didn’t put makeup on.

But, I just hadn’t been feeling myself. This working from home thing was different in this climate. Was it because Eddie was also working from home? Was it because I had absolutely no travel on the horizon? Why didn’t I feel myself?

I figured it out the day before writing this. When I used to work from home, I still would have this activity or that, or even meet up with people that “required” me to get “dressed”. I’ve had none of that. Even my grocery store trips don’t require a fully put together me.

So, to help improve my mood, my dedication, and my productiveness for work and my personal goals, I decided that I have to get ready every morning. I need to feel good about myself more often. Yes, getting ready does help me feel good about myself and there is nothing wrong with that.

I made the decision to get up at 4:00 am instead of 4:30 so I could have an extra 30 minutes to do my hair and makeup. As I am writing this, today is day 1 of this new schedule.

Here is to feeling good in a shitty time. Some times it is the little things that will get us through. Sometimes we just need a little makeup to go with our coffee.

How are you feeling good in this time of change?

My Abundance of Time

Our lives have all been turned upside down. From the local economy to the world as a whole, nothing is the same as it was just a couple of months ago. So much has changed in such a short time. Time is what so many of us want more of, yet we don’t do anything different when we get it.

Recently I read Being Mortal by Atul Gawande and in one of the chapters, he mentions a hypothesis that was formulated by Stanford psychologist Laura Carstensen: how we seek to spend our time may depend on how much time we perceive ourselves to have.

So I am asking you, how are you spending your time? Are you spending it as though you have an abundance of time and will live “forever”, or are you spending it as thought this gift (or curse, depending on how you look at it) of extra time will come to an end?

I can tell you how I have always lived my life: like I have more than an abundance of time, yet as though there is not enough time. I have lived with contradictory habits around time for as long as I can remember. You see, I am that person who is always on time. And by on time, I mean I am no less than 10 minutes early to everything. I also make sure that the house is perfect hours before people actually come over. I generally have to slow myself down in food preparation because I am so anxious about being behind when people arrive. I get horribly anxious about being late (remember the 10 minutes early from above) for everything. This anxiety almost hurts.

But, I also live as though I have all the time in the world. I have goals I want to accomplish and I diddle dawdle around them every single day. I save recording and editing my YouTube videos until almost the last day before they are “scheduled” to post. I procrastinate in getting coaching content created and published to this website. I have pictures and video for our Desert Mountain Overland website and Instagram that are months old that I haven’t even reviewed for editing. I have so much that I want to do, but I don’t do it.

I live very contradicting outlooks on time. Do you? Are you like me?

We have been given this extra time to be home with our families. For some people, this extra time is definitely not a blessing, and I get that, and I’m praying for speedy healing for everyone. But the rest of us who are bitching that we can’t go do the things that our every day life normally calls for? Yeah, we have been given a blessing of extra time.

No, I don’t have kids. But if I did, I’d hug them more, play in the yard more, cook with them more, play games, take walks, learn their schoolwork with them, and more. I would enjoy that time I get to have being together, even when the little shits are fighting or being sassy. This is time I wouldn’t have had with them otherwise.

As for what I’m actually doing? Well, I am writing this post a couple weeks ahead of time and up until this post, I’ve only really done a little of what I want to do to grow as a person and both of my “businesses”. But, I can tell you what I do want to do more of. I want to read more and take better notes of what I’m learning, I want to be more energetic in recording my YouTube videos, I want to get in the garden and yard more, I want to walk the dogs more, I want to learn how to fly my drone, I want more sexy time with my husband, I want to develop more content for you, and I want to edit and produce more images and videos that I have stored from previous off-roading or camping trips. I want to learn more. I want to share more. I want to inspire you more.

I want to use my abundance of time to finally stop being a procrastinating dreamer. I want to get off my ass and get shit done.

What do you want to do with your gift of time??

Again, if you or anyone you know is or has been affected by this virus, I am praying for a speedy, full recovery.

Stop Apologizing

Rachel Hollis wrote a book directly dedicated to this thought. She talked about all the things that women commonly apologize with. I received this quote on a cute little card in something I ordered from the Hollis Co. and I turned it into a little graphic that I read every day when I go through my gratitude in the morning.

Rachel said this quote in her book Girl, Stop Apologizing and it has resonated with me ever since. I feel like I’m somehow connected to it. Like it is speaking directly to me.

You see, I’ve been apologizing ALL of my life. I seriously mean all of it. I was always getting in trouble, sometimes for things that didn’t even make sense, I had just irritated my parents, so I was always apologizing. I still apologize for a lot of things that happen every single day. You might be asking, then why the hell does this quote resonate with me? Well, because I know and I am working on learning how to live my life without apologizing. I am learning how to be unapologetically me.

I know, the term ‘unapologetically’ is thrown around like its a badge of honor. It isn’t. But yet, it is. Every person defines living unapologetically differently. Some flash it around like a reason to be a douchebag. Some flash it around because they love their not-so-common attire. Some flash it around to be part of the social media movement. But for some of us, it simply means that we are trying to and learning to live our lives for ourselves rather than apologizing for everything.

We want to stop apologizing for everything about who we are. We want to be able to live a free life, loving ourselves without somebody, anybody else telling us we have to apologize for it. We want to lean into who we are without worrying about offending any and everybody. We want to live into being our true unique selves rather than trying to live according to what social deems is socially acceptable.

Going from apologizing for everything to living unapologetically isn’t easy and the road is most definitely not straight. I will have some really good weeks and then bam! I am right back to apologizing for everything. I blame hormones. I blame changes in my overall environment. I blame anything and everything. I apologize for blaming. Then I stop to realize blaming isn’t getting me anywhere fast.

Sitting down and working through the events over the past few days and weeks help me to identify what caused my path to fork. I sit and do thought work (sometimes written, sometimes not) to see what triggered me. Then I gather all of the conclusions I’ve come to and I start again. I start undoing the apologizing and start focusing on what I know I can change. I start releasing my stress again. I lean back into being me and living for me, regardless of the outside world. I create another fork in my path.

I want to stop apologizing because I know that there is so much more happiness on the other side. I know that my life will be more fulfilled when I lean into who I am and stop apologizing for it.

I am me and that is who I’ll be. No apology needed.

Relapse

Just the other day I was coasting along through life doing absolutely fantastic at identifying when my inner critic chimed in and started leading me down a path, or when my anxiety was starting to flare and cause panic, or even when I was about to go down a road of fear, misunderstanding, and old habits. I was fucking rocking it. I’m rocking it right now.

But I hit a week where that was no longer true. This was a week of confusion, what felt like extreme exhaustion, bickering because I couldn’t put myself first no matter what Eddie said, staying inside feeling trapped, and so much more. I was struggling but I wasn’t able to identify it. I didn’t identify it until one morning after we had our worst bicker in so long I can’t even remember how long it has been.

This week was the first week I was home, restricted from traveling, restricted from going to yoga, restricted from buying groceries because people cleared the stores out, and the weather was gray and dreary. This was the first week that the COVID-19 panic truly set in. This was also the week that the largest earthquake in 10 years hit Utah.

It was a funky, weird week. There was nothing normal about this week and it truly showed in my mood. And my emotional reactions. Thank God I was not on my period during this week, Eddie would have lost his mind.

I am calling this my relapse week because I lost all knowledge and connection to the work I have been doing over the years. I didn’t really even know who I was. I was merely going through the motions, barely getting by each day. Have you had a day like this recently? Or even a week?

How do you handle your relapses? I assume this will happen more than once in my life. I assume I will encounter this discomfort again in the future. I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I would say this probably wasn’t the first time that I got to this point. I relapsed when we were going through infertility treatments. I relapsed when I couldn’t barely walk before my spinal fusion. I haven’t even been on this good track for a year. But this relapse was the shortest.

I was able to identify that something wasn’t right after we had a pretty bad bicker. It was the end of the day and I was chillaxing on the couch. It was weird that I started to realize what just happened. I literally had this “what the fuck” moment. I felt blindsided that this relapse had happened. But then I started to think through the progression.

I worked through identifying how the spiral happened. I identified what the warning signs would have been. I discovered what the triggers were that sent me to the full relapse point. I pretty much retraced the entire week. Then I made a decision.

I decided that the following day would be a fresh start. After all, each new day truly is a fresh start.

So I did. I started fresh. I woke up early like I normally do automatically. I had my morning doing my Start Today Journal and Planner, I had lots of coffee, meal planned, paid bills, and set my intentions for the day. I started fresh. I started the day just as I would any other day that is a good day.

And you know what? It worked, mostly. I was struggling to come out of the mood, but I was controlling all of my thoughts. I was identifying my feelings. Then we went off-roading. My mood wasn’t the best when we started, but after sticking with the truck at the bottom of a trail that I didn’t want it to go up (hey, it’s perfectly capable, I just don’t like pin striping and I’m not ready to put a scratch in her), I had some time to just gaze into distant mountains and to walk around the hills we were in. This alone time in nature was a Godsend. I needed it. My mood completely changed.

How did I get out of this relapse? I pulled myself out of it by doing the things that enrich myself. I pulled myself out of that relapse by realizing that that person who was showing up that week was not the woman I know that I am. I pulled myself out of that relapse because I’ve been working my ass off to grow emotionally.

I am going to continue to work my ass off because maybe next time instead of a week, my next relapse might be just a day.

I Don't Know How to Set Goals

I’m not a goal setter.

Goals are too restrictive.

I was never taught how to set goals.

Goals aren’t achievable in my life.

I’ve set goals before but have never accomplished them, it’s no use.

Have you ever caught yourself saying or thinking any of those? I have. The one I used to use the most was “I’m not a goal setter.” I would come back to that over and over again. I look back now and see that it was just another excuse to stay stuck, to not do hard things.

I wasn’t ever taught how to set goals, but for some reason, that was never an excuse for me. I actually didn’t learn how to set goals until within the last couple of years and it still took me time before I set goals.

In my opinion, goals require feeling behind them. If I set a goal and I am not emotionally vested in the outcome, I’m never going to do the work required to reach that goal. If I set a goal that I’m kinda invested in, but am not sure how I truly feel about it, then I’m still not going to do the work. I have to feel into what I want the outcome to be before I will actually put in the work.

Goals can be huge or they can be extremely simple. It doesn’t matter. One of my goals right now is to get through this social distancing a stronger person. Most days have been downright difficult. Why? I couldn’t tell you. Especially because I’m an introverted homebody. But I hit a low point and it took a day or so to realize what the hell was making me forget ALL of the work I’ve done.

Another goal I have is to plant and truly take care of some herbs. I have these cool planters, but I always let the herbs die. I don’t plan enough meals to use the fresh herbs. Now I’m looking to find more meals to make that use the herbs that I plant.

A big goal that I have that I keep having to come back to is to become debt free. It isn’t an easy goal to achieve, especially when there is so much to buy and make life easy. Or food to eat. Or cute clothes that can make me feel better in my own skin. Or, or, or. To accomplish this goal, I’ll have to make a huge mindset shift. And I have, but then I get lax on my mindset and it goes to hell. Each day I am closer to achieving my goal, the more I feel the feeling of relief and joy.

So how do you set goals?

You have to have things that you are emotionally invested in achieving. Did you read my last post I Don’t Know How to Dream? If you haven’t, go back and read it.

To know what goals to reach for, you have to know what your dream for your life is. You have to sit down and truly look into the future and what you want out of your life. You cannot just simply set a goal and hope for the best. You have to be invested in the goal.

Setting goals just to set goals doesn’t work. If you set a goal to run a 10K but have absolutely no interest in running or physically cannot run, you aren’t going to achieve that goal. If you set a goal to become a millionaire but have no interest in working your ass off, then you aren’t going to reach it. If you set a goal to pay off your debt but keep spending frivolously, you are never going to pay that debt off.

Take all of the dreams you wrote down from the previous post and break them down into action items. Some with have high level action items that break down even further. That’s good. Those are your stepping stones. Keep breaking these steps down until you have actionable steps that you can achieve one after the other. You just set goals. Each of those actionable steps is a goal.

You can set goals. You just have to get out of your own way and allow yourself to dream and become emotionally invested in those dreams.

What are some goals you are working towards right now?