I have been toying with the idea of submitting some articles to various magazines or sites for several months now. What is stopping me from doing this? ME. I have perused through several, read the submission guidelines, and have even gone so far as coming up with a subject to write on; starting the piece in my head, but flat out refusing to pick up pen and paper to write these beginnings down. You see, if I were to write these ideas down when they came to me, it would be my best work, with the ideas fresh and natural. But we can’t have that now can we? I have to lose that flow of thoughts, ever struggling to get it back, losing my momentum and my best ideas. I then have ample time to doubt myself and scold myself, saying “See, I told you you can’t do this. You are such a loser.” Good times. I know I can write as well as anyone else I have seen out there. I just don’t allow myself to. I have to figure out how to quit this cycle of self abuse, or I will never get anywhere but where I already am.
Sooo…this blogging thing has taken a bit of a hiatus. I hate typing. Every time I think about writing a post, I make an excuse because of this. I have written a few posts in my notebook that haven’t quite made it into cyber space yet, but here is a 2 1/2 month recap.
#1 Make Time for ME
I am still getting quite a bit of me time on weekday mornings seeing as I am hardly working right now. I have applied for like a thousand jobs so that should soon change.
#2 Find ME Again
I am working on this one a lot right now. I have been doing quite a bit of soul searching during my alone time and have come up with some rather interesting conclusions. It seems that I have always known who I was, I just ignored myself for so long I didn’t recognize me anymore. And I got so busy with living a life that wasn’t a reflection of who I am, that I lost myself for awhile. Does that even make sense? I think I’ve pretty well figured out who I am, now I just have to figure out what to do with myself.
#3 Become Physically, Emotionally and Spiritually Well
Working on it, and will be for the rest of my life.
#4 Spend More Time in Nature
I have been trying to go for more walks but I wouldn’t exactly call my neighborhood “nature”.
#5 Delve Into Natural Healing
I have been doing this big time. I attended a plant medicine summit (roughly 30 hours of podcasts in one week, it was awesome), I have been checking out books on herbs and essential oils from the library, watching You Tube videos, making herbal concoctions, etc. This is a huge piece of the person I stifled for so long. Why? you may ask. I have no idea. Life. It just spins out of our control sometimes. Time to rein it back in.
#6 Read More
I have read several books the last couple of months, though not quite a book a week. I started with News of the World by Paulette Jiles. Then I moved on to my daughters shelf of Puffin Classics and I am still going through those. Turns out there are several I never read when I was younger. So far I have read Oliver, Robin Hood, Daddy Long Legs, The Secret Garden and Through the Looking Glass, which I enjoyed much more than Alice in Wonderland for some reason. Up next is Pinnochio. I hate the Disney movie but my daughter promises that the book is much better.
#7 Write More
Lists. And podcast notes, That’s it for writing lately.
#8 Find a Job I Actually Enjoy
I am not a full time caregiver anymore, which is good. I am a personal chef/caregiver for a friend a couple of days a week and am looking for a job working with kids again. I have a long term goal but for now, I will be happy to no longer be a caregiver. It is just too much stress for me to handle at this time in my life.
I made an herbal infused honey and have a tincture going and had much fun creating both concoctions. I am so looking forward to making more.
#10 Be a Better Mom
I am trying harder at this than anything else right now. I hope my daughter notices/appreciates it. I feel as though I have failed her in so many ways and I am trying to make it up to her. It is so easy to let the years slip by thinking we have all the time in the world but we don’t. You blink and go from being a teenager yourself to being the mom of one. Crazy.
I am thinking I should do a monthly check in to see how my new year’s aspirations are going. This will help to keep me accountable plus it should be fun.
#1 Make time for ME Working on it. I actually did have some ME time in January. I went out to the soups and salads cooking class. My work schedule changed too, so I actually have an hour or two all to myself on most weekdays. This helps my state of mind immensely. Unfortunately, it will most likely be short-lived, as I need to find a second job. I will definitely enjoy it while it lasts though.
#2 Find ME again Totally working on it. Two important things I am doing are writing and studying natural healing again, both of which used to bring me joy and guess what? Both still do.
#3 Become physically, emotionally, and spiritually well I journaled about the subject, does that count? I took a healthy cooking class. I am getting some me time too. It’s a work in progress.
#4 Spend more time in nature Nope. Nothing yet, but soon, I hope.
#5 Delve into natural healing I have actually been doing this! I finished a course through the Herbal Academy, Herbal Self Care for Stress Management, and it was awesome. I plan on doing more of their courses. It was inspiring and I learned a ton. I have access to the course for a full year, so I plan on doing it a second time, and this time take notes.
#6 Read more I am averaging a book every week, which is good. I love to read all kinds of books, it is extremely relaxing for me plus, bonus, my vocabulary expands when I read a lot. So far this year I have read all five Percy Jackson and the Olympians books at my daughters recommendation, and A Glorious Freedom by Lisa Congdon.
#7 Write more I am literally doing this right now. I haven’t written anything huge or outstanding lately, but I started journaling again and started this blog.
#8 Find a job I actually enjoy I am actively working on this. I have a new caregiving client and I am pursuing credentials for a second job as a substitute teacher. These are mere stepping-stones for what I really want to do, which is to write. I’m not sure what I want that to look like yet, so in the meantime, I am writing and plan on taking some creative writing classes this year and see where I feel led. Who knows, maybe there is a crazy good poet trapped inside me, waiting to be set free. Stranger things have happened.
#9 Create I haven’t been feeling all that creative in months. I did a little baking in December. I cook a lot, but that’s not really much of a creative outlet for me. I haven’t sewn anything in FOREVER. I have been getting a little bit of the sewing bug lately, we’ll see if it goes anywhere soon. I have a ton of unfinished projects to work on.
#10 Be a better mom I haven’t exactly done much on that front lately I’m afraid. I haven’t been a worse mom, so there’s that. My daughter and I are still going on our Friday mother daughter outings. This week we went to see The Greatest Showman. Best. Soundtrack. Ever. Last week we went to see Wonder, and the week before that we went out to lunch. I keep meaning to teach her to drive, but the weeks just keep slipping away. Next thing I know she’s going to be thirty. And I will still be driving her everywhere because I can’t seem to find time to teach her because I am always taking her places. Vicious cycle.
I often suffer from insomnia. This particular bout lasted for five nights, with a two day migraine added to the mix. There are various opinions on what causes insomnia. Stress, hormones, lack of exercise, and poor nutrition just to name a few. I believe my insomnia is a combination of all of the above, plus anxiety; a sleepless cocktail if you will. My worst bout of insomnia was last year when I went ten days without any sleep. None. Zilch. Zip. Nada. Not a single wink. Let me tell you, it was not pretty. Eventually, I just became so exhausted, that my body just shut down and I slept. I try to treat my insomnia naturally. I’m not a fan of big pharma, or even over the counter medications, but more on that in another post. I have tried it all with varying degrees of effectiveness- hot baths, tea, yoga, essential oils, breathing exercises to name a few. One of the many reasons that I study natural and holistic health is for this very issue. I need to get to the root cause of it, not just put a band aid on the symptom (insomnia), but find the cause and work to fix that as well. Here’s what I think I need to balance in order to sleep better- my hormones to start. I am in my mid forties now, so I think they are getting wacky again. My mental health. I have severe anxiety which keeps me awake some nights, reliving all the stupid things I have done my entire life instead of allowing me to sleep. My diet could always be better. As for exercise, well, that could be a lot better. If I work on these things, I truly believe that I will have less insomnia. In the meantime, I ordered some herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs and made myself a tea blend to drink before bed when I am feeling restless. I drank a cup last night two hours before I planned on going to bed, and I finally got a good nights sleep. I also put some calming essential oils in my diffuser and turned on some classical music. I didn’t wake up until morning (and that RARELY happens) so I am well rested today.
My Herbal Tea Blend for Insomnia
1 teaspoon each dried passionflower, hops and chamomile in a heat resistant vessel such as a canning jar or pyrex measuring cup. Add 1 1/2 cups hot, but not boiling, water. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain the tea into another cup and enjoy. I also added some raw local honey to mine, but that is a personal preference.
My Diffuser Blend for Sleep
2 drops Cedarwood Essential Oil, 3 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil, and 1 drop Lime Essential Oil
and Bach at Bedtime, which I purchased on Amazon. =)
*Disclaimer: this is what worked for ME, last night. Our bodies change, therefore what works will also change, so I do mix things up a bit when I need to. I am not a medical doctor, I am a regular person who is taking charge of my own health. I am not giving out medical advice, only sharing what has worked for me.
Last night I went to a cooking class taught by a nutritionist and health coach in my area. This is the second class of hers that I have attended, and I am signed up for several more in the coming months. I am a good cook, and I know food can hurt you or it can heal you. Sometimes, however, I am just not feeling all that creative, or, most importantly, I want to try a recipe before I feed it to my family. Also, remember what I said earlier about me time? Well, I may not have been alone, but I did do this for myself so it counts too. Last nights class vibe was a tad on the awkward side. I think it was full of introverts. Maybe next time someone should bring wine. The instructor was awesome though, and did her best to fill in all the gaps in conversation. Anyways, we were all just there for the food! She demonstrated three soups and two salads and we were able to try them all. The class favorite (including me!) was the first thing we tried- Smoky Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder. It was amazingly creamy without any dairy at all! A cashew “cream” was used instead of heavy cream and it was uber silky and delicious. I will definitely make this at home. Next up was a rather simple, but delicious, salad; Apple Cheddar with Maple Mustard Dressing. I am not typically a salad person ( I came for the soup ) but this was good and simple enough that I might actually make it at home sometime. Next up was a Zucchini Lasagne Soup which I topped with the optional ricotta and parmesan cheese so it was creamy and tasty just as lasagne should be. A Thai Coconut Curry Soup was next, and, while tasty, it was a bit on the spicy side, which my palette didn’t mind, but I got a headache right after eating it so I think one of the curry spices did not agree with me. Last we had a Chinese Cabbage Salad with Orange Hoison Dressing, topeed with crispy wonton strips. It also had avacados and fresh mandarin oranges so yum. I may tweak the dressing a bit, using a little less hoison, but this salad was tasty and I can see myself making it at home. I really enjoy going to these classes, and getting out of my comfort zone (you know, leaving the house and talking to people?) which is especially hard for me in the winter. Added, unexpected bonus- this class was held at a natural health office that I did not know existed! There is a naturopath, accupuncturist, massage therapist and more working th this location. I have been wanting to see an accupuncturist for my migraines, since it has helped my carpal tunel so much. So this class was a win-win. Yay me!
Yesterday my daughter jokingly told me that I have no personality. While I know her comment was not meant to offend, it struck a chord. Because it is, to an extent, true. Mom is not a personality. Nor is homeschooler, or bread winner, or sister, or daughter, or caregiver. These words may define me, but they are not the essence of who I am. So the question of the day is, who am I? When my caregiver hat is off can anyone see ME? The answer to that question is simple. No. Once upon a time, I had a pretty clear sense of self. I have grown and matured over the years so that self is no longer me. Neither is just the labels. Going through the motions of life but not being truly present, that is not fair to myself or to those I love. So here I am. Whoever “I” is, I will find her, and I will not lose her again.
I think about this particular subject a lot while I am surrounded by other people, taking care of them, rarely taking care of myself. I am a single mother which on its own means I have a lot on my plate. I chose this path, being a mother, and I have no regrets whatsoever. For work, I am a caregiver, assisting clients in their homes so they can stay there and not be institutionalized. It is on its best days, emotionally challenging. Some days I come home so exhausted, I just need time to unwind on my own but that is a rare occurrence. My alone time is in my car, to and from work. My daughter, my mother and I share a two bedroom duplex. My daughter and I have always shared a room, as money has always been tight. She is getting older, and needing her own space too, so we are in the process of saving for a place with more room. In the meantime, something has got to give. I am an introvert by nature, so being constantly surrounded by others can be hard for me. I have signed up for a couple cooking classes, and I am thinking about trying out yoga, or just going out to coffee by myself once a week. These things should help, but they are still with other people. I am also going to have to come up with something people free. I used to go to the beach when I needed to center myself. I need to find a place like that, here in the desert; away from the rattlesnakes of course.