2017-12-03 Sunday Status Update and Reflection

Some days I feel so positive about my progress and some days I just feel like a follow through failure. Braeaking it all down with statistics helps me realize the reality and take feelings out of the story. These “pulse checks” are therefore very helpful. It’s also helpful to compare one moment in time to another. That way I can truly see if I’m making progress and meeting my goals.

Here’s today’s snapshot…

Exercise/Steps: My average steps for the last 7 days was just shy of 20k steps per day. This is on par with where I was two weeks ago but about twice as much as I was getting at the start of the year.

I went to about 6 Jazzercise classes for the week which is also about the same as last week but I’m doing more of this now than at the start of the year as well. I’m still using 8 pound weights but don’t think I can go any heavier because 8 pounds is pretty taxing on my joints.

Sleep: My 7 day average was 6 hours and 50 minutes. This is worse than the last four previous weeks which were all 7+ hours average per night. My goal has been 8 for so long but I’m feeling that’s unrealistic. I’m going to adjust accordingly and shoot for 7.5 hours. I’ve still felt rested and energized for the day when I wake up and I think that’s the important thing. I’m now able to sleep through the night which is HUGE! A year ago I was so far from that it’s crazy and was even still struggling six months ago. I’m attributing my improved mood and energy to this one factor and therefore know for certain the changes I’ve made in my life were not just good ones.. they were absolute necessity.

Eating: It was a tough week and my willpower was low. I had too much junk with sugar in it. I’ve decided I’m going gluten free… and I started a couple of days ago. If that seems familiar, it’s because it is. I just copy/pasted that from two weeks ago. It’s exactly the same. I caved on the gluten free thing a few times and broke down and had too many sweets. But a few days ago, on December 1st, I re-committed myself to being gluten free. It’s time to get serious. I’m not going to try and fool myself into thinking I can also cut dairy or sugar at the same time. So this month I’m going to focus on just that one change.

Employment: Still None. My MFA residency starts this month and I’m now actively engaged in looking for a job.

Relationships: I now have a backlog of writing to do on this subject.. for romantic relationships and new things regarding family, but I’ve not found dedicated time to do so because of other priorities. Of course I’m still single and unsure what to do about these of my life, but it’s not like it’s a thing you can set goals around and make “progress”. Am I Right?

Looking forward to:

1. Monday – Pounding the world wide electronic superhighway for a job. (Yes.. I’m actually excited about this).
2. Tuesday – An evening in or out with my lovely sister. .
3. Wednesday – Showing my HVAC who is boss and filing away the final episode of that saga.
4. Thursday – Lunch with Leah.
5. Friday – FriYay!
6. Saturday – Christmas cookie chaos!!

Life is Still Good,
~Miss SugarCookie

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2017-11-22 Flipping the Script

Wow.. I haven’t written anything for a couple of days. I’ve also not exercised in a couple of days nor have I gotten my steps in. You could say I’ve pretty much deviated away from my normal script with regards to just about everything.

I’m not sure why that is. I sort of decided on Monday I was going to really crack down on getting some legit job searching stuff done. However, I have very little to show for it. I don’t yet have an updated resume, I have not actually applied for any more jobs, and I’ve really only had two job related conversations with people. Those were two pretty important conversations, but not enough to make up for the fact that it is now Wednesday and the end of the week because it’s a holiday. I guess that means most people and places aren’t working that much anyhow, so it’s OK if I don’t either right?! 😉

I do have friends in town for the holiday and have spent a little extra time with them this week. I also capitalized on the nice weather Monday to get my garlic in the ground (which it is way past due) and the rest of the hundreds of spring bulbs that I bought. I had to dig up some new areas for that, which is kind of like exercise, so I’m going to go with that. It does not explain yesterday and today, but I’ve really not been feeling that great either.

In fact, I’ve been battling a headache all day and I haven’t had a headache in weeks. On the one hand I’m like “wow, I haven’t had a headache in weeks and that’s so noteworthy”. I have a long history of headaches and quite recently decided to ween myself off of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. I’ve wanted to blog about that, and it’s on my list of things to follow up and write about. But now I do have a headache so instead I’m thinking about how much it sucks.

I’m still resisting the OTC pain meds, which means I’m trying to drink a lot of water and also have taken several curcumin pills (curcumin is a plant extract and natural inflammatory). I also tried to lay down to take a nap but my brain is not having it.. not with the night I have planned ahead coming up pretty quick now.

It’s the first night I’ll be accompanying Simon to some get together with friends of his and I’m nervous about that. He’s such an extrovert, I’ll likely just have to stand there and make small talk at the most, but still, the thought of being around new people (and those I will want to like me), is causing my social anxiety to flare up.

That all pales in comparison though to the thing after the thing. Apparently everyone is going to some Karaoke place and Simon is super excited to sing and has mentioned several times about me “showing them what I’ve got”. As if I’m a singer or something. I’m not a singer. I sang in choir in high school.. that’s it. Anything anyone ever did in high school doesn’t qualify them for shit as far as the world is concerned.

Yes, I did calculus in high school too, but that doesn’t mean I can bust out the pythagorean theorem and start solving complex problems. Yes, I had U.S. history, but I can’t recite the constitution or probably even name all the US Presidents. Yes I was in drama, but I can’t go to hollywood with a resume that says that and expect to get cast in a role. That’s just not how things work.

So it’s legitimately been like 25+ years since I sang anywhere in front of anyone, besides other Karaoke. Most of those times also involved a fair amount of drinking. I probably will not be drinking anything tonight, especially if I’m still fighting this headache. I’ve told him I’m not a singer. I’ve told him about my anxiety. He just smiles and says “it’s gonna be great”. Sure it is.

I’ve said before I appreciate being around people who push me to be more and do more. I want to be elevated beyond what my capabilities are now and I want to overcome my fears, so this is really great. However, it just doesn’t feel really great at the moment. It feels more like a tightly wound ball of yarn in my stomach being pulled tighter and tighter by the minute. No wonder I can’t sleep to try and rid myself of this headache.

I am going to give it another shot now though, since I’ve dumped some of what was in my head here now. Crossing my fingers for at least a few minutes of ZZZZZZZs.

Yikes,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-11-19 The 11:30 Quick and Dirty

It’s getting close to that midnight hour and I haven’t blogged yet today. I’ve had quite the full day.. Jazzercise, Gym, Cooking, Christmas Decorating with the kids (yeah, that happened), and then a visit to Simon’s. I’ve just plum run out of time. So this one will have to be quick. No doubt the perfect opportunity for a Sunday Status Update…

Exercise/Steps: My average steps for the last 7 days exceeded 20k steps per day. I also averaged out at about 7 Jazzercise classes for the week.

Sleep: My 7 day average was 7 hours and 22 minutes. Last night I got 8 hours and 22 minutes!! 😀

Eating: It was a tough week and my willpower was low. I had too much junk with sugar in it. I’ve decided I’m going gluten free… and I started a couple of days ago. So far so good.

Employment: None. Soon to be a full time student.

Relationship: Dating. Is it dating? What’s the official definition?

Looking forward to:
1. Monday – Seeing Rebecca for lunch.
2. Tuesday – Girls night out (again with Rebecca).
3. Wednesday – Pie and Karaoke night with Simon.
4. Thursday – Thanksgiving at my sisters.
5. Friday – Friday!
6. Saturday – Dinner and game night at my other sisters.

I lied. It’s not yet 11:30 and this update was pretty clean.
It was quick though so I’m not totally wrong.

Tell Your Friends,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-11-18 The Trick is in Knowing What You Want

It’s the start of the day. I just woke up at 9AM and that feels pretty good. I almost hit 8 hours of sleep and that feels pretty good too. My kids are still sleeping and the house is very quiet. What I have before me is an entire Saturday with no plans or obligations. That feels just fantastic.

It’s too chill this morning to get that last set of bulbs in the ground and I don’t really feel like getting up or getting dressed yet anyway. I have a million things I could do in the house and I’m not quite sure what will emerge as the winner. Some of those things have been on my list for weeks. That darn procrastination. 😉

I really don’t have much more to contribute or comment on at the moment. I’m sitting in my bed staring at the painting my mom gifted me a few weeks ago that I’ve failed to hang up on the wall and it’s a daily reminder that hanging some new pics that I have acquired in the last month or so is one of the things on my list. I’m not going to do that yet though because the sound of pounding nails will wake the kids and I really want them to sleep.

Maybe when they wake up we’ll all get bundled to go have coffee somewhere (in their case, Chai and Hot Chocolate). Maybe I’ll go to Jazzercise. Maybe I’ll get my act together to start decorating for Christmas. I guess this day can be anything I want.. and, just like life, I have to know what that is.

Happy Saturday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-11-15 I’m Ready.. Let’s Go!

Yesterday I woke up uninspired and unmotivated and today I woke up energized and ready to take on the world. I could spend a while pontificating on why that is but I might not get very far.

I had relatively the same amount of sleep. I Went to bed at the roughly the same time. I had the same sort of day ahead. What’s the difference. Was it something I ate? Hormones? Quality of sleep? A three quarter moon on a Thursday? What’s the deally-o, yo?

See.. No answers, just more questions. Time to move on.

Right now I’m back on my elliptical at the gym jamming to random tunes on shuffle. I mean really random. No playlist, no station, no genre.. just me saying to the universe, “Give me what you got baby. I can take it”. So far I’ve had Pink, Maroon Five, Train, Chicago (which I elected to skip), Daft Punk, Phil Collins, and now Alanis.

Interesting mix. I wonder what message the Universe is trying to send me. I could go on a tangent about this too but, again, I know for a fact that ends in more questions instead of answers.

I feel like I’m becoming a master at typing on my phone while elliptical-ing. Speaking of masters, I’m embarking on yet ANOTHER new endeavor today. I’m going to an informational orientation on becoming a master gardener.

It’s a program offered by the county and from what I understand involves classes and community service hours. It’s actually a collaboration between both Sarpy and Douglas counties. The meeting is at the library in my area. I think they start “classes” soon-ish and then when spring comes round, they have assignments around town assisting with gardens in “public” spaces. That’s all just educated guessing though.

This is another area of interest of mine I’ve been putting off for years. And there is no more room for “putting off” in my life. The time is here. The time is now. I’m ready.. Let’s do this!

Perhaps this meeting is the reason I’m more pumped for the day. Perhaps, but does it also explain why my outlook on the future is so positive today as opposed to yesterday when I was freaking out about my job situation? Nope.. I don’t think so. 🤔

It’s most certainly all connected though. There is not one single person, event, or thought that is not connected in some way. This is why I can trust the Universe to control my “shuffle”. I guess that’s my version of faith. No matter what the unanswered questions are.. it’s going to work out!

On that note, I’m now jamming to Fall Out Boy, “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race”. How appropriate (and one of my favs!). That’s my cue to cut it.

Let’s Go!

~Miss Sugarcookie

2017-10-21 Have This Instead of That

Yesterday was another very satisfying day. It was a nice balance of all the things I love to do. The only thing a little lacking in my week this week has been sleep. One would think that as much as I harp on sleep being so important, I would have found a way to stick to those “better decisions”. Last night was the 3rd night in a row I had good intentions but just could not quite get to sleep “on time”.

It’s tough when you have teenagers and their timetable for sleep is “I’ll get to it when I get to it”. I’ve read that kids need more sleep, but hell, when you have that much energy how can that possibly be true? Despite late nights, they got up each morning in good spirits and ready to take on the day. So I ask “Where can I get some of what she had?” 😉

I can’t quite put the blame for my staying up to late on them though, I’ve had my own agendas. One day I procrastinated getting my financials together for a meeting the next day and found myself in a pile of paperwork at midnight. One day I was home late and then had conversations with the kids and talked for quite a while with Simon on the phone. Last night it was writing. I had a goal to write a poem about “Love and Justice” for the specific purpose of submitting to a publication and so I did just that but it took me really close to the midnight hour before I gave up (didn’t finish) and went to sleep.

However, I did decide to sacrifice something else this morning for the sake of sleeping in. I skipped my morning exercise routine. “GASP”. When you just have so many things you want to do, sometimes you have to switch it up and give other activities some attention. I’m sure missing out on the workout will not have any affect whatsoever on my overall master plan. Despite how much I have been really digging that “me” time at the gym, I didn’t really miss it this morning.

In truth, there’s no way I could sleep in, fit that in, AND make it to the writing workshop at 11:30. The alternate plan, now in action, was to wake up when I wake up, finish my poem, and then get ready to head downtown. So far so good (I’m awake and finished the poem – yay!). So really, instead of flexing my physical muscles today I will be flexing my mental one and doing something else I really love to do. This switch-a-roo is going to continue throughout the day and I will probably not even have time to get my steps “GASP GASP”.

The workshop I am going to is being conducted by the same two women who did the poetry reading I went to a few nights ago. They are allowing 50 participants and I signed up over a month ago. The last one I went to had about 10 people in it, so if it is a packed house like they are saying it will be, it is going to be a very different experience.

Time to get going now. There are parenting things that also need attention. It is Saturday and the kids are still sleeping. No wonder they don’t have issues staying up so late. 😃

Ready to Roll,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-10-17 The Ultimate Broken Record

Sometimes I say the same things over and over and that can get really boring. But just like that song that is “your ultimate favorite”, there’s another record out there we repeat over and over again and it remains just as sweet as the day (night) before… sleep.

No doubts about it, I’m a huge fan. I’ve gone through times in my life where a good night sleep has been really elusive. From those times I can make two direct connections.

First is the fact that the status of my life and relationships and work impact my sleep. Without fail. In tough times when I’m stressed or have too much going on or dealing with a large life problem, I can’t sleep. I’m afflicted with insomnia. I wake up at all hours and my brain is firing on all cylinders. It’s trying to find a way out. It’s trying to solve the problem.

You only have to rewind right here on this very blog to earlier this year to read the evidence. I was a complete mess and inside the darkest place. That darkness was terrifying and I didn’t want to close my eyes for the monsters waiting at 2AM.

I was dealing with the end of a five year relationship that I could not let go of and on top of that a job that was killing me. Every day a new crisis and I felt responsible for all of it. The not sleeping well bled into the day and resulted in exhaustion and the inability to function. I was “on” when I had to be and very much “off” the rest of the time.

This meant my home life suffered, my children suffered, and I personally suffered. Which leads directly to the second connection and that is that lack of sleep causes mental distress.

If you don’t get enough, you start to go coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs. Sadness, anxiety, memory loss, mental focus, and lack of enthusiasm for life are all intensified by sleep deprivation. What’s worse is that all of this leads right back to the first problem.

This is an ugly viscous cycle that can be a downward spiral into oblivion. You’re stressed and can’t sleep and the lack of sleep makes the stress worse. If you don’t break the cycle how can you ever recover? And what if it’s something worse like depression. That spiral can lead to thoughts of suicide. That’s when the brain has exhausted all other solutions and come to the conclusion that it’s the only way out.

Thankfully I did not fall far enough to get to that place, but I was not so far from it that I could not see it. I could see how someone might end up in that place. I could recognize my own dark thoughts about not wanting to try and navigate my life as it was any longer and for a moment had a glimpse of what that would be like. It was terrifying.

I drank so much one night that I ended up drunk and naked in my shower with the water pouring down on me as I cried aloud that “I just can’t do it anymore” and that “I don’t want to have to do it anymore”. Most of the rest of that night was a blur, and thankfully I had a friend close by that took care of me.

Even in my despair I recognized sleep as a key factor for finding my way back. Again rewind to blog post after blog post where I wrote about sleep. So many times, in fact, that I created a category for it so anyone who wanted to follow just that part of my journey could tune into all things sleep related. So far just this year, I’ve written about sleep 46 times, 47 if you count this one (gotta love statistics).

I went through trials of taking sleep aid meds, trying to regulate my sleep by going to bed at the same time every night, and watching the results on my FitBit to see my progress. Each week I was becoming increasingly more aware that it would be a combination of stress reduction and better choices. If you are following along, this culminated in me deciding to quit my job and take some time off of work. It was the best decision of my life.

Every day I’m awake and every night I sleep I get farther and farther away from that terrible state I was in. I’m pleased to report that I’m sleeping well almost every night now and have been free of medications and suppliments for months. I’m not yet getting a full solid 8 hours a night, but I am able to sleep through the night and I think it is now down to just choosing to go to bed at 10 every night. My average night sleep is hovering right around 7 hours, which is worlds better than where I was.

Thankfully the cycle works in the other direction too. The less stress you have, the better sleep you get, and the more relaxed and stress free your days are. I’m not yet to the point of going back to work, but I know that when I do, I will be able to take on whatever challenges are before me. I’m actually getting excited at some of the possibilities that are out there. I’m attributing a huge amount of my bounce back to getting this sleep thing under control.

The bottom line is, whatever is going on in life, sleep is a concern and needs to be a priority. In the constant balancing act between self and work and relationships and family, there should be no compromise when it comes to sleep.

That being stated, I’m just one person and by no means an expert so don’t take my word for it. Here’s a really great article that goes into a deeper dive about sleep and it’s importance in your overall health. Just one more click down the rabbit hole and you’ll be a believer too.

The Importance of Sleep

From this article it’s clear that sleep deprivation can lead to all sorts of issues and has a huge impact on your physical health as well. It’s just one more supporting set of facts that confirm that my quitting my job may actually add years back to my life.😃

No need to bookmark any of this though, because like sleep, this is one record that will always be on repeat and I am sure if one waits long enough, it WILL “play” it again.

No Longer Sleepless in Omaha,
~Miss SugarCookie