The Year of Sandy

Monday, January 25, 2016

I know we are now almost a month into the new year, but I am working a little slower these days! I couldn't be more excited about a new year! I have been telling everyone that I think 2016 is going to be an amazing year and almost a month in, I still feel that way! Hopefully two months from now, I am still saying it ;)

If you read my last post, you know that the end of 2015 was a dark, trying time in my life. I am getting much needed help and each day is looking brighter. This isn't happening just from the medication and counseling, this is happening because I am working hard at it. This is why I am calling this "The Year of Sandy!" I don't mean this in selfish way. I am not saying that I don't care about anyone else's needs, but this year is about working on me! And you know what I am realizing, the better I feel, the better I make everyone else feel. It is turning out to be the opposite of selfish!

This year my resolution was to work on making my body and mind healthy. It is broad, but covers everything I am trying to do. I want to lose weight, but I am NOT giving myself a number that I want to reach this year. I want to work out more, but I am NOT telling myself that I am going to work out everyday. What I am doing is making small positive changes that will allow me to accomplish this without it being my sole motivation. Today I am going to show you the things I am doing different this year than last year...

So here it goes, everything that I am working on, with a little fun mixed in because who doesn't need a little fun on a Monday? 

1. Regulating my sleep cycle - I am working on getting 8 hours of sleep every night, even on the weekends. I am a night owl and hate the mornings. I stay up way too late and then drag myself out of bed each morning. I am always tired. This year I am fixing this!

2. Meal Plan and Eat Out Less - I am pretty good at meal planning, but really fell off the wagon at the end of the year. So starting at the beginning of the year I started again and it is going great. We have only ordered take out once and that was when we were watching the Patriots game with my parents, so that doesn't count! In my eyes, it was a special occasion, if you can call a game a special occasion! 

3. Move My Body - I am rocking this one already! I started working on this one in October when I joined Jazzercise. I LOVE Jazzercise! This is a great workout, but doesn't feel like one because it is fun. I go at least 2X/week while Olivia does dance in the same building and I really enjoy it! I also added in a Yoga class two weeks ago. I am "moving" right along on this goal :)

4. Learn to say No - I am a Yes girl. I don't like to disappoint anyone. I like to help out. I like to be involved. To a fault. This year I am working on being less busy. Having time to just be, relax and enjoy my little family of four. This means I am saying NO. This is a tough one for me, but I will say that the benefits of this are fast showing me how good it is for me to learn this skill! 


 5. Relax More - This goes right along with #4. I am learning to relax. Even when I would be home, I never relaxed. Ever. I would be up cleaning, organizing, doing whatever as to not sit, be quiet and think. Now I am learning to let things go a little bit. Take a nap, sit and read or play games with the kids and enjoy a little bit more of each day.

6. Read Inspiring Books - I ended the year reading my first book by Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection and I loved it. I then bought her second book in the series, Daring Greatly. I am finding these books extremely helpful in the work I am trying to do personally. I plan to keep up with reading personal development books this year, with of course, some fun books mixed in as well! 

7. Be Kind and Understanding to Me - I am not perfect, nobody is. I am so kind to everyone else when they have a problem, but treat myself like crap. This year I am trying to change my self talk to be more kind and understanding. I deserve the same love that I give out to everyone else! 

So that's the plan for my 2016! I am excited about it. I have been really working hard at it and I can see the benefits already. I will be talking in more depth about most of these topics in future posts. Think, How I became a morning Person, Meal planning for the family, What I learned from Brene Brown's books, etc. I hope you continue to follow me on this journey

Tomorrow I am linking up this post with Andrea and Erika for Let's Talk!

Have a great week! See you next time! 

A New Year and a New Me!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Wow! I have not even logged onto Blogger since October 7th. Almost 3 months. It is a little weird to be back here, in my chair at my desk, getting ready to write down my thoughts, but it is making me so happy! I have missed this! I have missed all of you!

You might be wondering why I just dropped out of the blogging world so suddenly. In September the kids went to school and I was ready with a blogging schedule and I was going to flood you with posts five days/week with all of my extra time. As with all the best laid plans...this did not happen. Reality happened...real life happened.

In order to understand, I have to first take you way back. September 10, 2005 the day I lost my little brother to suicide. The day that changed the course of my life forever. The day that I went from being a 25 year old newlywed, having fun, enjoying life to being the caretaker, the strong one. I was the one who answered the phone at my parents when it rang, answered the questions everyone had and when everyone finally went home, I took care of my parents. Did I grieve for my brother, sure, on my own time I had my moments, but for the most part I held it together, on the outside I stayed my happy self and plowed through.

A few weeks later, I found out that I was pregnant with Olivia! I was so happy to be pregnant. Not because it was originally our intention to become pregnant so soon after getting married, but because we realized after losing my brother how important family was and we were happy to be starting one of our own. So bring on more distractions for me, everything baby! Then a move when I was nine months pregnant to be closer to my parents. Olivia comes along and is the biggest joy for all of us! I begin my job as mom.

Now let's go to this past summer (2015). I now have 2 beautiful, healthy children that I am so blessed to have as mine. They are 9 and 5 years old. My job as mom is still important, but I am getting ready to send both of them to school in the fall. My life as a stay at home mom is going to change drastically. I will have more time of my own, more time to think, process and be me.

In August, I lost another very important person to suicide. My cousin. Losing one person to suicide is tragic, losing a second is just plain unfair. Of course, my family immediately went to be with his family and when I got out of the car at his house, I was transported back in time 10 years. I knew what they were feeling. I not only grieved for them, but was also grieving for me and my new loss and of course my old loss was brought right back. I gave myself one day to hug people and grieve and then the next day I jumped into, what can I do to help mode. Again, didn't focus on what I needed but what does everyone else need.

This is OK, because this is how I work, this makes me feel good to help. But I can't ignore my feelings and then go home and expect to just jump back into life without ever really giving myself time to grieve. But, that is exactly what I did. I got back home to the kids, did the fun things we had planned before school started and then celebrated the first days of school. Then I had time to myself. I had time to think. I had time to process. But, instead I continued to ignore. I made myself busy and when I wasn't, I zoned out on social media. I scrolled and scrolled, not really interacting with anyone, but just looking at everyone else's lives, in order to not think about my own.

In October, my sister in law had to convince me to go scrapbooking for the day. If you know me at all, you know I usually don't need convincing to do something fun and I love to scrapbook. I went and worked on my book and was pretty quiet. On the drive home we started to talk about things and I started to cry and I feel like I cried for three days after that. I cried in bed for a good part of the night and was up looking for a counselor online at 2am. In the morning I confided in Mike that I thought I was depressed and I cried the whole time I talked. It was messy, but it was also so good. I was letting it out, I was admitting I had a problem (even though I hadn't realized it myself for so long) and I felt a giant weight come off my shoulders.

The following week I had my first session with my counselor. I knew the first visit that it was a great fit for me. We talk about a lot of things. I never went through the grieving process for my brother. I hold in my emotions and joke things off that I should allow myself to feel. I numb my pain with things like food and Facebook. I am a huge self critic and not in a good way. I am not very nice to myself. If you listened to the way I talk to myself in my head, you would be depressed too. I also don't stand up for myself. I don't like confrontation and I let people say things to me that upset me, but I just push down the feelings instead of expressing how I feel. I told Mike we better up our health savings because I've got some issues!! Again, the jokes :)

Really, though, this is serious. I think I had depression for a lot longer than I even realize. I think it is partially the reason for my lack of energy and the fact that everyday I struggled to get out of bed. I didn't know, or I didn't admit it for a very long time. I just moved on, plugged through my daily life, until one day my body said no more, Sandy. You need help. I am getting help now, from counseling and from medication. Most days now, I feel really good, but there are days that I don't. My goal is to feel them and allow myself to feel them instead of ignore those feelings. It doesn't mean that my meds aren't working or I am depressed again, it just means the feelings that I have been pushing down for years are coming to the surface. I will tell you after one day of letting myself really feel, it felt like a cleanse. Seriously, the next day I was like a new woman!

Each day is not perfection and I have a LOT to work on, but I am working on it and that is all that matters. I am not ignoring the signs and each day I am working on me. I am so glad to be back here writing this blog, but the last few months I couldn't do it, so the fact that today I am writing, means I am doing just a little bit better than yesterday!

My goal for this blog has always been to be real and this is as real as you can get. I felt like I wanted to be honest with everyone, not only because that is who I am, but also because maybe I will help someone who also is plugging along and missing the signs. Maybe by writing this and being vulnerable, I am doing my piece of taking away the stigma of depression. I am talking about it and my hope is that if you notice the signs, you will also get help. I am not healed yet. I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel so much better than I did three months ago. I am so thankful for my sister in law who started the conversation, who opened up the floodgates, for me to realize that there was a problem. Who knows how long I could have gone on as a shell of myself.

So there you have it. It's out there and I am back. You won't see a blog post every day, I am not there yet. Though, my hope is once a week to start! I am still on journey, not just to lose weight, but to better myself, inside and out. My New Years resolution is to be healthier mentally and physically. I am changing my life for the better and I will continue to take you along on the journey, just a little slower at first! Cheers to a happy, healthy 2016!!

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