Just Stop… and Think…

What happens when you try to make a computer or phone do too many things at once? It freezes. It slows to an abysmally slow pace. It doesn’t function to its’ maximum potential. Errors occur.

The same can result in the overload we all currently have on our minds. We suffer from brain overload.

From the moment we open our eyes, our minds immediately go into overdrive. Our days are filled with errands, work, family, meetings, deadlines, schedules, relationships, interactions and technology. We have happy moments and extreme stress. Our bodies respond and we either don’t function at our maximum potential, or we just stop wanting to do anything at all.

As studied by the American Psychological Association (APA):

“When stress starts interfering with your ability to live a normal life for an extended period, it becomes even more dangerous. The longer the stress lasts, the worse it is for both your mind and body. You might feel fatigued, unable to concentrate or irritable for no good reason, for example. But chronic stress causes wear and tear on your body, too.”

Let’s be realistic. In order to achieve big goals and make big dreams come true, we aren’t going to be able to shut out all of the distractions that surround us. We are now part of a generation that experiences text message notifications, news bulletins, phone calls, game requests, email notifications, alarms, reminders, direction instructions, health reminders, bank notifications, and much more… and that is just from the small device in the palm of our hands.

The APA has a list of recommendations to help reduce the stress and overload. One recommendation is to give your mind a rest! With having so much on our minds, we tend to not truly rest at night. How can we remedy this?

Just stop… And think…

Dedicate some time every week to unplugging from all of the distractions. First, give yourself the space and environment you need for peace. Find a quiet area in your home, visit a tranquil park, or find an intimate coffee shop. Next, make sure you don’t rush yourself. Allow your mind to wander. Have a pad of paper and a pen near you to write down any notes/thoughts you feel are important and do not want to forget. Write down your thoughts and once you are done, you can strategize how you can tackle any issues or problems that are weighing on you. Most importantly, do NOT have any distractions such as a phone or television near you. Fifteen to thirty minutes a week is a great start to help you relieve some of the stress and overload on your mind.

Give this a try this week and let us know if it helped you with some of your brain overload!

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress.aspx

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The Stigma of Seeing a Therapist

Today I shall be seeing a therapist for the first time ever. I say that statement without shame and without worry. Sadly, there seems to be a stigma with admitting that one sees or will be seeing a therapist. Honestly, I don’t see why.

If a friend came up to you and said, “I think I might be having some blood pressure issues, I am going to make an appointment to check it out”, you would probably commend that friend on taking care of their physical health and seeking treatment.

I believe the same support should be given to those who seek assistance for their mental health. A person does not have to have a mental disability or a personal, catastrophic tragedy to seek out the assistance of a mental health professional. With the varying types of mental health professionals there are varying degrees of need for such support.

The stigma of seeing a therapist comes in when people start making assumptions and judgements. People assume that you might be “crazy” or have a mental illness. People assume that you are having some catastrophic personal crisis. People assume that only “weak” people need to see therapists. After those assumptions are made, then people start to judge.

I, personally, am seeking therapy for how I am managing stress. I’ve written about it already… My hands are absolutely full house hunting, wedding planning, working, and trying to manage my personal relationships. I have noticed that in the last 4 weeks or so I am not managing my stress in any manner that is considered healthy. My sleep is suffering. My emotions are on the worst imaginable rollercoaster. My fiance and I are not communicating as well as we usually do.  I become upset much more rapidly than normal. I feel as if I am not understood by those around me.

I know that with everything on my plate right now, and the negative way I am handling the stress, that this is a prime opportunity for me to speak to someone about how I am managing everything. Sometimes, you need to hear things from a neutral third-party. Sometimes, a person can give you some insight into your personality and your interactions with others that you may not have noticed.

There is nothing wrong with a bit of mental health self-improvement. We do self-improvement in SO many aspects of our lives. Work, physical health, financial, etc… Trying to become mentally healthier only helps to improve us as people overall. What we can learn can help provide a positive affect on the rest of our lives.

So today, I shall go into my first therapy session with my head held high. I don’t care about any assumptions or judgements made against me. I know that I am going to be doing something positive. It is time for a little “me” time…

Wedding Planning Dry Spell

198 days…

I only have 198 days until my wedding day… and I am currently in a Wedding Planning Dry Spell.

My feet are as warm as ever, and I can’t wait to become the wife of my awesome future husband.. but the plannnnning. All motivation, inspiration, and desire to wedding plan have flown out of the window.

I have gone through these spells before, but they were more out of laziness. This time it is different. I find that I have become more emotional lately, with so many aspects of my life causing me stress and putting me in a low mood. My wedding planning to-do list is still a mile long. I look at it, and then I find something else to do.

It doesn’t help that house hunting doesn’t allow me to schedule any appointments in advance. I feel like I need to be constantly ON CALL in case a property comes onto the market that I need to see immediately. I spend my lunch hours either running errands or online looking for houses. I spend my evenings worn out from my hectic work day. I get back on the computer looking for houses. I plan or go find dinner. I spend the little bit of time I have left in the day with my fiance.

Right now the priority in my life has been switched to finding a home. That is absolute NUMBER ONE. It has drained ANY desire I have to wedding plan. Some of my self-imposed deadlines are starting to pass, and honestly, I haven’t mustered up enough energy to care. In the last two and a half months I don’t think I have SEEN any of my friends more than twice. And I don’t mean hang out and spend lots of time. I haven’t SEEN any of them more than two times. But with house hunting, it is not like I can make plans.

My bridal magazines remained stacked in a corner of a room… My Save-The-Dates remain un-ordered… My bridesmaids and groomsmen still have not had their wedding attire coordinated/ordered… My guest list has not been finalized… My DJ has not been booked… My reception set up and decor has not been planned…

I wrote that list just now and all I can do is shrug my shoulders.

I’m hoping for a burst of motivation. If anyone has any, please send it my way!

Project Last 29 of 29… Recap of Days 28-26 To Go…

Here I am on a Monday recapping a great weekend! I keep counting down the days until my 30th birthday and I am seeing the AMAZING and POSITIVE things that are happening to me daily!

Here is a summary of just some of those amazing things…

Angie - Kitchenaid

28 Days To Go
This day was filled with a work triumph and a wonderful gift. I had an incredibly stressful day at work and the stress was focused on one account in particular. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to come through with a quote for the account, but with TWO minutes left in the day the quote came in. I left ecstatic!
As soon as I pulled into the driveway at home UPS was ROLLING engagement gifts into my doorway. As you will see from the photo above I was in LOVE with my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. My mother has one and I have repeatedly said that when I moved out I would miss her Kitchenaid mixer and double ovens the most!
27 Days To Go
Two words: HOUSE HUNTING.
Saturday was a dream come true. Literally. I have always dreamt of being a homeowner, and I have spent MONTHS trying to get myself in a financial position to become one. Saturday just showed that with hard work my fiance and I can do anything. We learned a LOT on our house hunt and are looking forward to the search!

26 Days To Go
With 26 days left until my 30th birthday I spent the day running errands, taking care of my “to-do” list, and spending a bit of time with family. It was a busier Sunday than I anticipated and I ended up going to bed HOURS later than I had wanted to… Yet, this day felt like a success. It was a great feeling to see so many things checked off of my list.

All The World Stops: Migraines.

Migraine

Last week was rough.

I have suffered from migraines for a few years now. I am lucky enough that I do not get migraines on a frequent basis. When I DO get hit with a headache, I am usually out of commission for about a day or two. Still, I find myself lucky in that regard as well.

I have heard of people being physically crippled by migraines to the point of collapsing on the floor. Others are not responsive to migraine medication. I currently have a medication that I take at the onset of a migraine. It works about 80% of the time. I’m usually “functional” the day after taking said medication. I am also familiar with people who have taken extreme medical action and get botox shots are the scalp area of their heads to relieve tension.

I’m lucky enough that I am not at the extreme side of the migraine-suffering spectrum.

But last week…

UGH.

Last week.

It took me almost a week to feel “normal”. THAT long. Starting Monday evening I was heading home from work and felt as though I had a headache coming on. No biggie. Just a regular headache which I usually do not take medication for, because headaches happen! I don’t need to pop a pill every time a headache comes my way.

By Monday evening I was in bed and didn’t want to move. I just wanted to lay there and sleep off the headache that I had forming… In the middle of the night I crawled out of bed and straight to my migraine meds.

It didn’t work.

Time came to get ready for work and all I was capable of was dragging myself out of bed to feed my dog. When BeBe was done eating, I went back to my bed and knocked out. I spent three straight days with the migraine in varying degrees of pain. Nothing worked. Nothing alleviated it.

Come Friday, I had just a “normal” headache. At least I was functional. I didn’t feel completely myself again until Monday of this week. I have never gone so long with such a bad headache. I avoided computers when I could. I had NO energy and NO ability to focus on anything. I dropped off the face of the Earth and accomplished very little. That was the part that I didn’t like the most. I have a to-do list a mile long… and I only checked off ONE box.

This week I am working on managing my stress level. Last week, my stress was THROUGH the ROOF. One of my triggers for migraines. I am taking this week day-by-day…

Here’s hoping I don’t repeat last week’s migraine anytime soon.

Bananas = Wine

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I’m going to quote the deep thinker and great philosopher Gwen Stefani when I say, “this shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S!”

The day that I had today made me think of the grand Gwen quote… And sometimes, when you have a BANANAS day, you just need a glass of wine to come down from the madness.

For once, I didn’t choose lazy…

Yesterday sucked. Really, it did. But it goes to show that everything in life has balance. Wednesday I was BLISSFULLY happy… Then Thursday came. Wednesday was SO GOOD that Thursday was the COMPLETE opposite.

On days where I am exceptionally stressed, anxious, upset or mad I usually make all the wrong food and activity decisions. I usually eat things that are ALL WRONG for me and lay in bed napping or watching TV. I believe this is where the term couch potato came from. If I had been on the couch I would have been ridiculously lazy, and probably eating something fattening. Like, potato chips… Fries… You know. The greasy stuff.

Yesterday, I didn’t choose lazy.

I have goals. Big goals. I don’t want to lose a quick 10 pounds and be done with it. I want a lifestyle change. I want to be more active, more productive, and healthier. My ways of handling stress are the opposite of what I need to meet these goals.

Yesterday, I had a shiteous day at work. Yea. I said shiteous… Cause SHITTY and HIDEOUS just weren’t enough. I came home and did what I usually do in these situations… I ate something I shouldn’t have (white rice) and laid down in bed.

After laying in bed for an hour+ I started thinking about my goals… Laying in bed and sulking was not going to make me productive. It was not going to make me more active. I sure as hell wasn’t going to lose weight that way either!

After my inner pep talk I got out of bed, change into my workout clothes and got to work. I popped in my favorite workout DVD and burned off the calories of my bad choice of food. I used up some of the energy I was using to dwell on my crappy day at work and I made a positive out of it…

I know my journey won’t be perfect. I know I will make mistakes. I only hope that I can turn every mistake into a positive.

Diagnosis: A Case of the Bah-Hum Bugs

The symptoms have been around since just before Thanksgiving… I would roll my eyes as I saw the Christmas Tree stands going up… I would cringe at the holiday decor going up… I would scoff at the holiday items for sale… And worst, I would feel personally offended that someone would buy a Christmas tree BEFORE I HAD MY TURKEY!

I felt alone. I felt partially ashamed. I didn’t know where to turn, until I realized I was suffering from an illness that millions of people suffer from yearly… I had a case of the Bah-Hum Bugs.

I am not alone.

The Bah-Hum Bugs (BHB) are a serious condition where any holiday-related visual or auditory trigger can make a person nasty, bitchy, cranky, negative, and just an all around Scrooge.

The key to the Bah-Hum Bugs is to not overly treat the ailment. Pushing more Santas, garlands, flashing lights, holiday sales and snowman inflatables in the face of someone suffering from BHB only makes the person resent the holidays more. You need to ease a person into the holiday season. Don’t play the holiday station on Pandora 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most importantly, avoid loud and large crowds.

My mother and I are both suffering from BHB. Our plan this year was to slowly decorate the house and Christmas tree. Hell, we didn’t even start decorating until 2 weeks before Christmas! Yesterday, we put up our artificial, pre-lit tree. Today, we put half of the ornaments up. (Below is a picture of today’s progress. Notice the boxes everywhere, the semi-decorated tree, and the broom on the floor from an ornament that fell and shattered).

Just remember, the key to overcoming a case of the Bah-Hum Bugs is moderation!

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