Holiday Anxiety & Announcement

I’ve written numerous times about anxiety. When I first started this blog three years ago I was fighting a very bad case of anxiety. Some of it was winter: I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and the cold, dark winter months really take a toll on my mood. I rarely experience anxiety in the sun bathed months of summer.

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My work load, both professional and personal, has increased dramatically in the last year, and, since I work in retail, the Christmas season has flown by as I scramble to get things done and fail miserably. It’s okay, I’m putting a lot of this stress  on myself, I have a lot of personal achievement things I’m working on, which I’ll talk more about below. This has left me with little time or wherewithal to create holiday content here. I usually have a difficult time even staying awake after dinner, which makes me, as you can imagine, extremely unproductive.

I consider myself exceptionally lucky to have a job where I can take my dog, Bingley, with me. This allows me to get outside and walk a couple of times a day, and yesterday I noticed something really important: I was anxious at work, and it was almost entirely relieved when I was outside in the sunshine walking Bingley around town. I know for a fact I’m a natural born sun worshipper: I always have loved summer, even when I was heavy. I decided that a short list of things that help my anxiety would be beneficial as a reminder to myself.

  1. Being outside.  You love the sun, dear, you love the breeze in your face and hair. 
  2. Working out. Focusing on the movements and the music in your ears allows  you to let go of the chaos in your head and the endorphins last for hours afterwards. You’re less grumpy when you sweat, darling. 
  3. Girlfriend time. Often this is combined with being outside AND exercise, which makes it extra good. 
  4. Makeup. As a Younique Presenter, I do live makeup videos on my personal Facebook page, and honestly, I freaking love it. I always feel good after doing a live and even if I’m having a bad day, making myself look fabulous lightens my mood. 
  5. Bingley. Bingley is my absolute heart. Like the Grinch at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, he makes my heart grow three sizes when I look at him.

So these are things I need to remember when I’m feeling anxious or down.

Now onto the announcement!

I feel like I can finally announce it here since it is now officially official. In 2018 I will be co-hosting a podcast called Feast on History (go like our Facebook page)! It’s going to be a fun, family friendly romp through the history of food. If you’ve been checking out my blog Recipe for History over at Blazing Caribou Studios, you’ll know I get into the history of foods there as I write a recipe to go along with it. Come February, that blog will be the Feast on History companion blog and will feature recipes directly related to the podcast. I am much excite about this!

As always I immensely appreciate your support and patience as I transition into 2018. I’m going to be growing my personal brand in the next year and I’m so excited to share that with you. ❤

The Continuing Weight Loss Journey – After Weight Loss Ends

I’ve been in maintenance for going on 3 years this month. I lost, at my max, 115 lbs, and have kept off more than 100 lbs of that this entire time. That 10 lb regain? A lot of it is muscle, because I’m a physically smaller size than I was when I hit my goal of 160 lbs. While I’m extremely proud of my weight loss and keeping it off, losing the weight has been the hardest part.

I’ve been overweight from birth, so being at a healthy weight for the first time ever at 33 years old was a strange and wonderful thing. I quickly realized, however, that my brain had adapted quite well to being the fat girl. You know how they say you didn’t gain weight overnight so don’t expect it to come off overnight? The same is true for your mental state. You don’t just wake up on the day you hit your goal weight and think like someone who’s never been fat. Your brain is still a fat girl. A fat girl in a fit girl’s body.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s been 3 years since I hit my goal weight. In those three years I’ve gone from only walking to someone who works out 5 days a week. I can do one arm swings with a 40lb kettlebell. I can deadlift with 52.5lbs per hand (and probably more but that’s as heavy as my dumbbells get). I have gone from the baggiest clothes possible to preferring slimmer fit clothes, from covering up on the beach to owning FOUR bikinis.

I call this my uncomfortable pose.

Now let me tell you: wearing a bikini on the beach at the Jersey Shore in the middle of peak season is terrifying. I can’t speak for the never-fat, but I felt scared and exposed and paranoid that people were whispering about me behind my back about how grotesque I was. This is the third year I’ve worn a bikini to the beach, and this is the first time I really felt like something changed inside me.

This past Sunday The Hubs and I spent the afternoon and evening in Ocean City, NJ. The weather was blissfully perfect and we found a nice spot on the packed beach and I stripped down to just my bikini… and my anxiety set in. Were people staring? In a bad way? The Hubs assured me that was not the case. When we were done roasting ourselves I decided that I didn’t want to put my tee shirt back on because the sun was beating down something fierce. So I pulled my jean shorts up and folded my tee and stuck it in my bag. And at first I was really, REALLY self conscious. But after a while I started to not think about it. We walked the boardwalk and went into shops and just enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of the ocean.

I put my tee back on to eat dinner, but when we got back outside it was just so wonderfully breezy and the temperature was perfect that I took it off again and just enjoyed the feeling of the sun and wind on my skin. And I stayed that way until we got back to the car at the end of the night.

I’m not saying my insecurities are gone now, far from it. But I think I crossed a threshold on Sunday. I think my brain is slowly catching up to my body, and I’m proud of that. I’ve come a really long way, and while there’s always someplace higher to go, I know I’m moving in the right direction. ❤

 

Refilling My Cup

Hello, my name is Andrea, and I love to blog.

The things is, lately that’s been REALLY hard. You see, I’m emotionally in a really weird place right now. A difficult place. I’m in counseling, and I’m dealing with many difficult things. There are times I find myself exhausted, knowing I should write something here but barely able to get dinner on the table and veg out for the evening. It’s not always physical exhaustion, but emotional. I’m having a hard time, and that’s okay.

I’m spending most of my spare time right now consuming media as opposed to creating it, and that’s okay too. Sometimes we all need a reset.

The Emptiest of Cups

Last night I realized how empty my cup actually is right now. I have spent the last few weeks feeling ill on and off. Nothing serious: a headache and mild stomachache, then later allergies. Yesterday I had allergies so bad the post nasal drip caused indigestion and a sore throat. I also was suffering from a pretty bad bout of bursitis in my right shoulder that made many mundane tasks quite painful. (Seriously, try taking off a bra when you can’t put your arm behind your back without wincing.)

When I got home from work I put on my pajamas and made myself a (too big) bowl of maple brown sugar Cream of Wheat. It felt so good and warm on my throat and I turned on some Jim Gaffigan stand up on Netflix and I settled in to try to nap. What I should have done was turn off my phone and nap. I needed that time of restoration. But I didn’t. When a friend you haven’t spoken to much in a long time wants to chat, you gladly chat!

But later when a good friend was upset I found I simply was incapable of helping. Why?

My cup was empty. It was so empty it was dry and dusty at the bottom.

How did I get so empty?

I haven’t been making enough time for myself. To refill my cup. How can we help fill others’ cups if ours is empty? Do you remember what they tell you when you get the safety talk on an airplane? In case of oxygen depressurization put on YOUR OWN oxygen mask before helping others. Why is that so hard for me to remember?

I’m making it a point in the future to be better about not letting my cup get so darned empty!

Things I Plan to Do to Refill My Cup

Unplug sometimes. I don’t ever intend to shut off Facebook. But it’s okay sometimes to turn off chat in order to restore focus. I’m doing that today, in fact. It’s odd sometimes, without the constant exchange of day to day information, but I don’t *need* to be constantly communicating with someone just for the sake of not being alone. And sometimes that distraction makes it difficult to be as creative as I’d like.

Enjoy the silence. The TV is on so often in my apartment that sometimes I forget what silence is like. When I cook I often listen to podcasts to entertain me (and drown out the noises of my downstairs neighbors) but early in the morning, sipping my coffee, silence is so wonderful and restorative.

Take a relaxing shower. I’m often guilty of treating showers as something that’s only good for getting clean, but warm water cascading gently down the neck and back can have a truly meditative quality at times. And the best part of a relaxing shower is slowly drying off in the warm air without having to get dressed right away. I need more of that in my life, stat!

Sit in nature. I spend a lot of time outside walking or running, but I never make time to just SIT in nature and enjoy its many pleasures. I need to listen to the birds, hear the rustling of the leaves in the trees, watch the squirrels frolic bouncily through the woods, and photograph the flowers and beauty I see every day in mere passing.

How do you refill your cup? Let me know in the comments!