Word of the Year 2019 – Balance

Happy New Years, everyone! We made it!

So, I’m thinking of trying something new this year in lieu of a New Years Resolution.

I was introduced to the “word of the year” idea a couple years ago. It’s essentially picking a word to attempt to follow for the entire year.

The word can be what you hope to become. How you want to live the year. The big thing you want to change, or a word that describes how you’re going to do that.

I never actually did this, I always tossed around the idea of giving it a try… but I never really stuck to doing it. Which makes sense, because I’ve never actually stuck to my New Years Resolutions when I tried to make them. Now, of course, with my resolution for 2018, I’d managed to do a few small things in the whole be nice to myself resolution I had going on. But still, it wasn’t like I actually went so far as to say I crushed a goal.

For 2019, I knew I wanted to move towards something. I wanted to have some kind of goal.

And rather than listing out a resolution of something I want to accomplish in a year, I wanted something more abstract. Something that I could sustain and work towards over a course of a year.

So, a word for an entire year seemed like a good idea.

Picking one word to summarize an entire year is a daunting task. There are so many words to think of. Do I want to be more hopeful? Is being more consistent going to get me to where I want to be? What about “embrace” change? Or “grow” or “appreciate, mindful, calm, thrive?”

Of course, I would love to do all those things. But when reflecting on 2018 there was a common theme.

I was too busy, too stressed, too worried, too…well, everything.

And a lot of that came from spreading myself too thin. I was trying to be a good mom, a good boss, a good friend, a good employee. I was working two-three jobs, while trying to find time to write and maintain this blog. I was trying to do so many things all at once, and it just wasn’t really working.

Because I was lacking balance in almost every aspect of my life.

And just like that, it hit me.

Balance

Sometimes the word chooses you.
Sometimes you have to actually listen to what went wrong to find out what can make it right.

Balance is one the biggest obstacles in my life. How do I balance all of the hats I wear on a daily basis. I desperately need some balance in my life.

At first I was a little bit butt hurt that my word wasn’t going to be something like “happy” or “strong” or “growth” but when you actually thing about it, can I even hope for those things if things have no balance?

Ummm, that’s a big fat no.

So, that’s my word of the year. Balance. This year I’m going to try and move towards that. Balancing all the things in my life that I want to do and the things that I have to do. My family, work, health, weight… all of it… and we’ll see how it goes!

Reflecting on 2018

Here we are! New Years Eve! The last official day of 2018! We’re taking a break from all the weight loss talk in favor of reflecting on 2018! So, this time last year, I made myself a New Years Resoltion…now I’m not a huge fan of New Years Resolutions. For some reason I did them last year. My logic was that if it wasn’t something like “you have to lose weight” or “I will quit biting my nails” that I might actually do those things. So, I went for more of a general one. My New Years Resolutions last year boiled down to essentially “Be nicer to myself.” I initially wanted to just scoff and be a negative Nancy about that. Because in the larger scale of things, maybe I wasn’t all too nice to myself. I didn’t do much in the way of taking care of my health (sorry Doc for the several cancelled appointments), I went overboard on the whole “over working” aspect and boy was I stressed out. But at the end of every year, we really should take that chance to reflect on the last year. Right?

But there were some things that I did actually do.

Take mental health days
I actually took time off from work! Rather than raking in just under 200 hours of unused paid time off (my job in INSANELY generous when it comes to personal time off!!!), I actually used some of those hours! Which is HUGE for me. Granted, one of those times was a “Nicole, I think you need some time off before you explode moments” but I did take a couple days off here and there. I even scheduled a MASSIVE 6 days away for myself (sure, it only ended up as 4… but #progressnotperfection).

That might not seem like much, but consider in 2017 I only actually used a fraction of that, is remarkable to me.

Have more me time
This was the one I really struggled with, because with everything that I have going on, it’s really hard to find time to do things strictly for me, especially when all my time is wrapped up with taking care of everyone else. For a while there (I admittedly dropped the ball on this a few months ago) I was doing my nails pretty regularly! I even tried out almond shaped nails…which eventually turned into stiletto…big moment of stepping outside of my comfort zone . And even more recently, I start sporting my natural hair and wearing make up more often than “I have to do an interview today”! It was nice to have moments (even if it was only 45 minutes once a week) to spend painting my nails or watching a TV show or some other “menial task” that I always managed to ignore.

And last but not least Slow down and smell the daisies (not a big rose fan)
But, the biggest things that I’d started was back in October, definitely not an entire year. But I started journaling. That’s been a big one for me. Getting my thoughts out onto paper, reflecting on all the good things happening around me, I needed that. It wasn’t a daily kind of thing, but it was nice little outlet. I tried to keep it as positive as possible! I was doodling, reflecting on “little happies” and even started keeping track of the “good” things that were happening… which needing to keep track of sounds horrible, but seriously, taking a second to see the good things among all the stress and frustration was amazing!

While it wasn’t like 2018 was an astounding year, and my “resolution” fell short in the “MY YEAR WAS AMAZING” department, it definitely cleared things up in my head. There were absolutely things that I didn’t accomplish that I wanted to, there were moments where I just wanted to give up and become a hermit, and more often than not I was stressed and frustrated… but there were shining moments that I was nice to myself. The balance I was hoping for certainly wasn’t there, but it was a good starting point.

And that’s what I’m looking for in 2019. That balance. Being nice to myself is more than just moments here and there. And finding that balance of doing what needs to be done and being nice to myself is key!

So here’s thanks to 2018 for not sucking as bad as 2017.

Happy New Years Eve everyone!

A Stress Fueled Three Month Hiatus

So, obviously, I’ve been MIA for the last three months. I’m not even going to say “whoopise” because it wasn’t like I just forgot or kept postponing things, I’d made a choice for the sake of my stress. If that makes any sense at all.

Something you should know about me is when I’m stressed past my limit, I have a tendency to shut down. Like pulling all my reserve energy into a few select things, because quite frankly that’s all I can handle at the moment.

I’d just over packed my schedule. Way too much was on my plate at one moment. I’d had two jobs, three at one point where I was transitioning to another. My main job was taking up a lot of my time and a huge part of my stress. Home life was going crazy between drama, lack of time, and so forth. There was just so much going on in my life I couldn’t keep up with.

I’m big on mental health. And I tell people all the time that I firmly believe in mental health days. You know, if you break your leg you aren’t going to be walking around on it the next day…you need time to let that heal. Mental health is the same thing.

Now realistically, I don’t have the ability to just drop everything for a few days and focus on destressing and decluttering my mind. But there were several things that I could drop to give myself the opportunity to breathe and think.

First to go were my other jobs. While I loved one of them and, honestly, hated the other, it was one of those moments of “is the extra money worth what all I’m missing out on?” In the grand scheme of things, they weren’t. To be 100% honest, there was a way I could go about that, and I didn’t. It was a panic fueled decision. And after the panic and guilt went away, I felt marginally better.

The second thing to go was the blog. Not permanently, of course. Between 70-80 hour work weeks I was finding less and less to blog about. Simply because I didn’t have any time to do anything except work, try and find time to spend time with my family, and still somehow eat and sleep in there too. I really didn’t want to be one of those people who threw out fluff pieces just to maintain a consistent blogging schedule, because I didn’t do anything other than work. And let’s face it, no one wants to come to a blog to read about someone’s job, which I can’t write about anyways.

So the blog went next. Which sucked. I love my little piece of the internet I’ve got over here. But I wasn’t going to force myself to write crap posts about absolutely nothing, when that time could be spent getting a handle on my brain. You know? It was honestly the harder of the two choices.

Thirdly, my physical health kind of went out the window. Which I guess makes sense. Mental health is connected to physical health, and if one is down the other is too. That’s not to say that I completely ignored it. But it was the same kind of choice.

I could force myself to count my calories, or I could just be happy that I managed to remember to actually eat something more than a quick lunch that day. I could ignore exercise for a few weeks months, or I could use that extra 30-45 minutes for sleep or family time…which I desperately needed.

Because of that, I found myself sitting at 192 pounds. Normally, I would have been ecstatic about that. Not this time around. Because I knew that I wasn’t finding the time to eat enough to maintain the busier life I was leading. If someone has found the secret to making sure you have enough time to eat in a 20 hour day. Please, please, let me know!

So yeah, things back pedaled quite a bit. But I’m moving back towards feeling better. And yeah, three months, there hasn’t been a huge change in my stress levels. I’m still really stressed 99% of the time. But I’m managing it better. I can give more to my family, more to my job, and more to me.

So, I’m back as much as I can be. In the last three months I have cleaned up some things in my life, gotten more time out of it too. I can’t promise that I’ll be posting three times a week or whatever thing I set up. But I can try to continue to post about the more “worthy things” that I have found time to do.

If you’ve stuck with me through these last three months, thank you! If you hightailed it outta here, I can’t blame you!

Cheers to feeling better!

And the countdown begins

It’s the last Friday of the year! The last weekend of the year! The last EVERYTHING of the year! The countdown begins to 2018!

Since New Years falls on a Monday this year, I’m not planning on posting. So here you are, an early snippet into my 2018.

Which of course, means that soon your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram feeds are going to be overloaded with New Years Resolutions!

Last year I all but ignored resolutions. I’m not real big on the whole New Years Resolution thing. Back in the day, it was always some HUGE and SUPER IMPORTANT thing I was going to stop doing. I don’t do well with taking orders from myself. If any and all plans I have made in the health department of my life are ANY indication.

But this year, I need things to be different. I seriously need to start taking orders from myself. If I don’t, what’s the point?

Anyways,

2017 was a crazy/intense year. Less crazy/intense than 2016. And let’s not even get started on 2015/14.

Rather than saying things like “I’m going to stop [fill in the blanks]” I’m going into 2018 with some more positive resolutions.

I’m going to be nicer to myself
I’d started with making a list of all the things I want to change about myself. I noticed two things right away. #1 the vast majority of them weren’t weight related. Huge surprise there! It was more along the lines of be happier, less stressed, more patient… so on and so forth. #2 A lot of them were things I should be doing, and have no idea why I don’t.

Take mental health days I know I’ve said this before, but I have a job that can cause a lot of stress. Plus I’m a very obsessive kind of person, and I can get wrapped up into work far too hard. I’m not talking about taking a month off or anything. But here and there, maybe taking a long weekend? Or when I need a second to decompress, actually communicating those needs rather than shoving it all down and pulling a classic “Nicole’s lost grip of reality!!!!” moment. Actually plan a week vacation and do it? That kind of stuff.

Have more “me” time
Do the things I don’t give myself time to do. Do my hair, my make up, my nails. Take a bubble bath? Maybe get my eyebrows waxed for the first time in well over a year. Go and actually see my friends rather than “hey, it was so good seeing you six months ago!” Read a book? Go see a movie? (The last movie I went and watched in a theater was Deadpool back in 2016). Things like that!

Slow down and smell the daisies (not a big rose fan)
I’m busy. Ridiculously busy. Between work, blogging, my book… I don’t have much time. Then silly ol’ me, decided to reapply to college… It’s a lot to juggle. Especially having two kids. I’m used to busy. I’ve always been busy. But just because I’m busy, doesn’t mean that I don’t have time to do things and enjoy things. Rather than having thoughts in the back of my mind (work, book, blogging) while I’m in the middle of those moments. Focus 100% on the good parts of my life, rather than always having something floating in the back of my mind that I “have to do.”

Those are the three big things right now. Of course, I have my weight related goals. But that isn’t so much a New Years Resolution kind of thing, those are things I would like to accomplish, of course. But I know that my mental health is just as important as physical health, more so in some aspects. And, let’s face it, mental health has a huge impact on physical health.

So it’s a win-win!

So, let’s raise our glasses to the New Year! To our resolutions!

I hope your 2018 is even better than your 2017!
I hope your New Years Resolutions stick!
I hope your holiday season was phenomenal!

Good luck to all of you who have resolutions!

Happy New Years!

Caffeine is here to stay

I feel like crap. I’m grouchy, irritable, and have a constant headache. Why? Because I’m starting to make real progress trying to decrease caffeine.

Remember back in August when I declared I was going to detox from caffeine?

Yeah, it sucks.

I tried and failed several times from August through October. At the smallest hint of a headache, I was sipping down more coffee trying to avoid THE headache. Granted, I’m generally always having a headache. Excedrin Tension is never too far away (I have a high stress job, ya’ll… no judgement). But caffeine headaches are a much bigger deal.

Well, within the last two weeks, I’ve started again. Making progress, but still it sucks. It’s recommended to cut back on coffee 1/4 every three days. And considering how much freaking coffee I drink. Both my coffee “mug” and my travel mug are 20 ounces. I’m only decreasing 5 ounces EVERY THREE DAYS. It’ll take me 5 months to be completely off caffeine. Five freaking months.

I highly doubt that I’ll completely stop drinking coffee. I’m hoping I can just get to the point where I don’t feel like I need coffee to make it through the day. I’ll still enjoy a nice steaming much of decaf gag or have a blended latte once in a while.


My glorious 20oz Harry Potter mug

Which, let me tell you. A blended latte (or frappachino for you Starbucks people out there) CANNOT be made with Decaf… because the coffee shop around here uses HOT freaking espresso. Which makes it soupy and gross. Imagine an iced latte but with a scoop of powder in it. ICK. The ice is literally melted before they blend. Not. Ok. You hear me, baristas? For the sake of blended decaf drinks everywhere… PLEASE HAVE SOME COLD DECAF ESPRESSO ON HAND LIKE YOU DO FULL CAFF <--- see what I mean? I'm grouchy. Though, I was a barista at that same coffee shop long ago, and I have a trick for that if you want it... pour your hot decaf in the blender, add your cold milk with A FEW ice cubes, let it sit for a minute while you add your syrups/powder so it can at least get room temp, THEN add your ice. It’ll help, I promise. Takes all of 45 seconds longer, and your decaf drinkers will thank you

Anyways. I’ve managed to cut down almost a full coffee mug in the last two weeks, and have only had a mild headache everyday. Is that a win?


See! I’ve even been tracking it!

For all of you caffeine-aholics out there hoping to decrease the amount you need to survive… I wish you well. I wish you luck. And for what it’s worth, you’re allowed to dream about coffee. You’re not allowed to imagine your friends as giant mugs of steaming goodness.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I have to log in how much caffeine I’ve had, and take a nice dose of caffeine free headache medicine.

Enjoy!