2013

  • Started going to church
  • Worked really hard on being more patient. Succeeded at being more patient.
  • Continued volunteering, fulfilled my commitment of doing it for one year, and finished because it wasn’t as rewarding as I wanted it to be.
  • Went skiing and hiking many, many times.
  • Went camping many, many times.
  • Made friends with another couple 🙂
  • Started climbing again and reminded myself why I love it so much.
  • Started ballet again and reminded myself why I love it so much.
  • Started to frolf (frisbee golf)
  • Played lots of soccer, and really improved. Realized I’m better offense than defense.
  • Got a “real” job with a good career trajectory, making real money.
  • Took many courses through work and gained many skills (MS Access,  SQL,  FME,  Six Sigma Lean Green Belt)
  • Spent 2 separate weeks at the cabin.
  • Went to Vancouver to see my Grandma, and saw George Watsky in concert
  • Took an amazing road trip with my friend to Portland and the Oregon Coast.
  • Went to two weddings
  • Paid off ~$10K in student loans
  • Spent some quality time with some quality cousins, aunts, and uncles.
  • Worked through some difficult personal issues
  • Became a Kitten Grandma
  • Learned about depression in a first-hand kind of way
  • Rocked Christmas Shopping
  • GOT ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!!

Grandparents

When I was little, I was lucky enough to have many, many grandparents. Both my mother’s parents and my father’s parents divorced when they were kids, and both remarried. I knew them all. With some, I spent more time than others, but I knew them all and no one lived more than a 7 hour drive away. I even knew two of my great-grandparents really well. I have been lucky.

But now I’m planning my wedding and I have one grandparent left, and she’s really sick, and lives really far away. While two of my grandparents lived well into their 90s (one was 95 and the other was 99.5) I’m pretty sure I’m going to have no grandparents make it to 90. I’m sad because I won’t be able to see them at my wedding. I’m sure they’ll be able to see me. Sometimes I feel the presence of certain grandparents. And I always feel the presence of my great-grandmother. It’s kind of like she never left. My mom feels like she is close too. So I’m sad for myself.

I’m sad because my kids won’t know them. But I know this is just a part of the shift of generations. My grandparents passing on means that I get to pass on into the role of “adult” and “parent” and my parents get to be the new grandparents. It’s still sad when your family is different from they way you’ve always known it to be, but these are roles we are all looking forward to. 

2014 will be a year full of new things, and many firsts!

Anxiety and Doubt

One of the most prominent thought patterns during times of anxiety is self-doubt. I second guess almost everything I do, and most things other people do where it concerns me.

Should I ask her if she wants to hang out with me? She probably doesn’t. Has she been avoiding me? I probably shouldn’t call her.

What should I get him for his birthday? He’ll hate that. That’s a terrible idea. Why can’t I think of anything good?

That was so not the right decision. This will mess everything up. I should have waited. I should have asked someone else what they thought. What if this makes  a mess out of everything?

Usually figuring out what I should get people for Christmas is an awful ordeal full of going back and forth and thinking that everyone will hate their presents. This year, since I was more depressed than anxious, I had no problem. I never once questioned my decision on a gift. It was awesome. Now my anxiety is back and I’m planning my wedding. It’s going well but my internal dialogue is constant questioning of the wording in every single email I send, and each decision I make, each pin I put on my Pinterest board.

How I tackle self-doubt:

  • I talk a lot to my support people about what’s going through my head. They’re good at letting me know when my decisions were perfectly fine, and what I can do to manage the other ones that I should change or whatever.
  • For long-term decisions, I remind myself that I made that choice by going through all the options, and using the information available to me. I remind myself of the other 80% of the time when I think that decision was a good choice. Doubting a decision for a couple moments shouldn’t negate hours of reasoning.
  • I remind myself that I’m not my anxiety. These thoughts are not rational, and I don’t have to listen to them. I acknowledge them, tell them I don’t need them and try to move on.

Do you ever have to deal with nagging self-doubt? How do you manage it?

Wedding Anxiety

Aaaaand it’s back.

I was almost starting to miss it. The high heart rate, the feelings of inadequacy and doom. Life just wasn’t the same without my anxiety. But it’s back. Those familiar feelings have come back to snuggle into my chest. Nice and comfy.

Planning a wedding is stressful. Everyone tells you that. Stress comes from expectations that don’t get met. Stress comes from unknowns. Stress comes from assumptions that are never investigated. I go really up and down with it. EVERYTHING IS FANTASTIC! this is a disaster. I’M AMAZING. what the hell am I doing. THIS WILL BE SO MUCH FUN. everyone will hate it and hate me.

So. When I’m feeling my heart rate go up, I try to remember this:

  1. Breathe. Get more oxygen in your brain, it’s starving.
  2. Chill. Be realistic. What will actually happen? Not what’s the worst case, but what’s the realistic case?
  3. Priorities. Think about the experience and not the money (as long as we’re still on budget).
  4. Remember. It’s anxiety speaking, not real life.

I’m thankful I’m back into being able to do some exercise. I walk my 10 minute walk to work and back. I’ve gone climbing a couple times, and feel the burn. I’m going to sign up for the gym at my work so I can do some drop-in classes once a day. So I’ll get fit and reduce my anxiety all at once. My foot feels ok. It’s kind of stiff, and definitely weak, but holy crap – I can walk and I can drive so I don’t care if it’s not perfect. I need to start taking my vitamins again. I’m so bad at taking them, but it should help my craziness.

Engaged!

I got engaged on December 8, 2013! I’m even happier than I thought I would be, and I’ve had a long time to think about it. I’ve been expecting it to happen for the last 13 months since that’s how long he has had the ring!

Shortly before our 5th anniversary, I went to my parents house and chose my engagement ring from the two family heirlooms I was offered. I picked the big, pretty one which also fit perfectly. It was meant to be. The ring belonged to my great-great aunt who got married sometime in the 1930s. It’s very unique and I feel so lucky to have it. Auntie Stella was the second wife of my maternal (x2) great-grandmother’s brother. From what I hear, she was the life of the party and always a lot of fun. These are definitely qualities I want to cultivate in myself, and I feel like I get that energy from the ring.

All year long, I kept expecting him to propose in romantic places. Our 5th anniversary, on our trip to the cabin by ourselves, ski trips in the mountains, another trip to the cabin, hiking in the mountains, our 6th anniversary. I worked like mad on being patient. I’m the opposite of patient. It was hard. I wanted him to do it on his own. I didn’t want to plan the wedding first, or get pregnant, or do anything that made me feel like he proposed because he had to, but he was on a completely different time line than I was. He didn’t feel like there was any rush and I was sitting there pulling my hair out with impatience.

This weekend my cousin was visiting us. We had a great weekend. Full of fun activities. On Sunday, I went to church and it was a heavy sermon about how advent is a time for waiting and anticipation of the great joy that comes after waiting. I was a mess after that and needed a distraction. When I got home, we all wanted to get outside so I suggest that we go to a provincial park near the mountains for a walk. I got my cast off 3 days before so I didn’t want to go on anything too huge. The park is beautiful and we had a lovely drive up, then a fun tromp through the forest. We were throwing snowballs, and dumping snow on each other from the overhead branches. It was just what we needed. Towards the end of our walk, he ran off ahead. When we came around the corner he was waiting for me in the middle of the trail. When I got closer he said, “Emily, would you… wait while I tie my shoe?” Then he got down on one knee and got the ring out and said, “Just kidding, will you marry me?” And I said yes and it was amazing! He put the ring on my finger and I refused to put my mittens on even though it was really cold, because I couldn’t bear to cover it up. 

I’ve been waiting for that for so long, and I’m even happier than I thought I would be. He’s also really excited for the wedding. So the sermon was on the right track 🙂

Self-Care

Self-care refers to the activities that we do for ourselves to calm down and restore our energy. These activities can be very different depending on if you’re an introvert or extrovert. Introverts restore their energy by being alone, and extroverts restore their energy by being with lots of people in high energy situations. Self-care is important all the time, but especially when we are under greater stress than usual. I find that it’s easy to forget when I’m stressed out and I have a lot going on, but as soon as I make some time for myself to restore my energy, I’m much better prepared to return to the craziness.

When I did doula training, we talked about self-care and I know my brother had a section in his EMT training that discussed self-care. Often when we’re looking after others, we forget that our own needs are important too. We cannot help others once we are burnt out so we have to make sure we don’t get there. There are lots of tips online for how to take care of yourself when you are caring for others.

For myself, self-care starts with saying no. I have to make sure I don’t have too much going on. I have a tendency to add fun activities to my schedule until I have too many activities and none of them are fun anymore. I do much better when I remember to schedule days off for myself. I find it hard to say no, but it’s necessary for my mental well-being.

Other self-care activities are be baking, painting my nails, coffee or a long walk with a close friend, reading a book, or doing some kind of craft. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and painting my nails, since it’s been hard to stand to bake, and impossible to go for a walk with my broken foot. Sometimes if I have the time, I will take a nap. I’m one of those middle-of-the-day nappers and when I’m on holiday, I’ll have a nap every single afternoon.

 

Self-care Activities

  • Coffee with a friend
  • Cooking
  • Walk
  • Exercise
  • Reading
  • Watching TV
  • Nap
  • Draw a picture
  • Paint your nails
  • Listen to a guided relaxation
  • Go out for dinner with friends
  • Order pizza
  • Take a break from electronics

What do you do for self-care? Leave your tips in the comments and I’ll add them to this list!