1st Day Back to Work!

Today is my first day back at work after being gone for 3 weeks.  I have mixed emotions about being here, but most importantly, I feel at peace.  I came up with a plan to help me not become over-stressed/overwhelmed, etc.

  1. Do not check email before or after work.
  2. Start work at 9 and end at 5.  Our normal working hours are 9-5.  Likely because I work from home, I noticed that I would start earlier and end later.  Therfore not having any distinction between my personal life and work life.  The lines blurred.  So, I resolve to treat my workspace like an office I would travel to.  I get into the office at 9, and I would leave at 5. 
  3. Leave during my lunchbreak.  Again, I noticed that I would just grab something and head back to my desk.  I need to leave.  Take a walk, sit outside. Go to Starbucks and get a decaf.  Something where I leave my office.
  4. During my time off, I took our dog Tillman to dog park nearly every morning (or dog beach).  Tillman really enjoyed it, but I did too.  It really calmed me.  In fact, I noticed my dog really helped me during my 3 weeks off.  He completely relaxed me.  So, I would like to drop my son off earlier at his pre-school/daycare, and then head out to dog park before I start my day.  This should help me start the day with a clear, calm mind.

My manager was incredibly understanding about my time off and my transistion back in should be relatively light and easy.  I feel my hormones are calming down — even though I can still cry pretty easily (I blame the sappy stuff I’ve been watching on TV though).

I have a great support system too.  My husband has been fantastic (even if he doesn’t “get” the hormonal rage going through my body).  My family and friends are always there for me and support me unconditionally.  I feel blessed with this.  The comments I have received back have been great.  Thank you so much.

 

Advertisements

Nervous breakdown, burn out, or mid life crisis?

I seriously think I’m losing my mind.  This last year has been tough work wise.  The last few months have been tough personally. Which all leads me to wonder if I’m experiencing a nervous breakdown, burn out, or mid life crisis?  Perhaps all three.

Let me explain…(and this is the cliff notes version)

Work life– in the past year, I’ve had multiple projects wtih different VPs, all with different expectations and ways of doing things (this is after my boss of 14 years left).  Some of my projects went well, others did not.  All basically resulting in lower self confidence.  I’m pretty good at compartmentalizing my feelings, so I just continued on.

Personal life– the health of my 95 year old uncle goes downhill.  While we all know that reaching 95 signifies a fantastic life, his death in July – while a relief at first – hits me hard.  I was closer to him than some of my other family.  And his death devastates me.   But, again, I try and compartmentalize.

A week after my uncles death, I have a mid-year review (not overly positive), and then I find out I’m pregnant.  Great news, yes, but my “compartements” that I had created are now breaking down due to my hormonal upheaval.  I’m happy, but yet I cry everyday (ok, monday thru friday).  I lost my ability to cope with anything work related.  I’m so stressed out and I’m afraid, at 41 years of age, that it will affect this precious gift I have growing in me. Especially after seeing multiple friends go through miscarriages. So this stresses me out too.

Continue reading

Ahhh, the winds of change

I cannot believe it’s been over a year since I’ve blogged.  That is really pathetic.  And truly, there are a lot of things I could have blogged about.  Oh well.  I’d like to say I’ll do better, but then life happens.    And that’s why I’m blogging now…life and change. 

Specifically, my work life is changing.  I’m still with my same company but my boss has left.  He’s taking some time off — a break, if you will, from working.  I’m jealous, but that’s a whole other story.  So now, our small little office is closing and I’m reporting to someone new.  My co-worker and I are looking at the positive and we think this could be, quite frankly, awesome for us.  No immediate boss in our office.  We can work at home, in the office, both.   It’s the flexibility we’ve been craving. 

All the possibilities are good, but the fact is, my boss has left.  He was more than my boss.  He was my mentor and my friend.   I’m trying to “pretend” he’s on vacation, but when I see the totally empty office, it gets to me.  I thought I’d be ok – and I know I will be — but it’s a bit overwhelming right now. 

And to top things off, I’ve been working on a project for one of our VP’s in NY and I just feel like I’m screwing up.  At a time when I feel like I need to really wow people, I’m just f***ing things up.  Ok, perhaps I’m being a little hard on myself and I’m feeling a little emotional.  But that’s just how I feel. 

I look forward to the end of this week and I will start fresh next Monday.  I will remember to look at the positive, and not be so critical of myself….Yes, most definitely, these are the things I will do.

The Never Ending Juggling Act

It’s been nearly a month since my last post.  I was hoping I’d be more consistent in this blogging thing, but life got busy.  And I felt a tad overwhelmed.  Why?  Because I had this one project at work take over my life.  I’m not even sure how that happened.  It’s not like I was working a ton of extra hours.  I just felt overwhelmed.  Sad that one project could do that to me.

But during this month, I had the opportunity to visit my alma mater (California State University, Fullerton) and attend a Women’s Conference.  Now, it’s not like the Women’s Conference that Maria Shriver put on, but it was still worthwhile (and free)!  Kristen Bell was the keynote speaker.  I don’t know too much about Kristen, but she came off as very down-to-earth and committed to a pretty good cause (Invisible Children).

There were two breakout sessions we could attend.  I chose a Stress Management presentation by Kristen Welsh-Simpson (seemed an obvious choice with my current inability to balance) and Eating Right by Christine Jackson-Mohler.   I figure if I put my learnings to paper, I might do a better job of incorporating these into my life.  And the two really go hand-in-hand.

Stress Management

There are 6 R’s:

  1. Responsibility (telling yourself that you are in control, establishing priorities, and keeping it simple)
  2. Relaxation ( do something good for yourself, schedule “worry time,” and schedule a time  out and be consistent about it!
  3. Reflection (know what triggers your stress, know your symptoms, and check the balance of your life)
  4. Relationships (have supportive relationships, manage them, and improve your relationship with yourself)
  5. Refueling (eat a balanced diet, be aware of poisons, drink a lot of water)
  6. Recreation ( laugh and love, learn how to have fun with your family, enjoy your life and treat others the way you want to be treated)

Specifically, I learned to see stress as a challenge, not a road block.   Mrs. Welsh-Simpson did an excellent job in explaining this.  She used a very simple formula:  E + R = O, or Event + Response = Outcome.   We can only control our response to a situation/event.  It’s our perception that drives our response.  So we need to re-frame our thinking – find the good in a bad situation, use positive self-talk, avoid the blame game and shift your focus going forward.  Always try and have a plan B – this will help you feel in control.

Improve your time management and have realistic expectations.  Understand accept that we can’t do it all.  Let go of some things.  It’s ok if I do the dishes tomorrow.   Whew!  Something else that really struck me…she said to live in the present.  You can visit the past, but don’t live there.  You can only control what’s going on now.  Makes total sense.    To add to that, you can learn from your past and that will help your responses.

Stress Erasers:

  • Take time outs. 
  • Meditate , do some deep breathing exercises, or other relaxation exercises
  • Watch your diet and caffeine intake (ok, she said to eliminate… but I just don’t comprehend that)
  • Exercise
  • Sleep (very important!)
  • Vent
  • Have a sense of humor! 

She also had two fantastic analogies:  1) If a cup is full, it doesn’t matter how much more liquid will make it overflow.  A simple drop can make it overflow.  So reduce the size of your cup.  2) Imagine a plate.  The more stuff that gets put on your plate can push something off that you really like/want.  So every so often, clear your plate and you choose what goes on it and where they belong.

Eating Right

I took this session to learn more about eating organic.  A friend of mine who is in the midst of fighting breast cancer educated me on nutrition.  To help her fight the cancer, she is eating more organic and avoiding soy.  And no, I don’t just mean soy sauce or edamame.  Have you read labels lately?  Goodness, soy is in everything!  Apparently, it’s a cheap emulsifier.  But the problem I believe (and I know very little here) is that contains a natural chemical that mimics estrogen.  And in my friends’ case, that’s not good.  And the nutritionist from the women’s conference also suggested watching your soy intake.  She mentioned that there is a lot of genetic altering going on and a lot of pesticides are used in the development of this cheap product. 

All in all, we need to read labels.  Avoid processed foods – eat whole (not a lot of ingredients).  Eat often.  Try to eat lean meat (chicken or turkey), and/or free range.  Fish should be wild caught, cold water.  Organic milk would be better than non, but try rice milk or coconut milk. 

Suggestions:

  • Eat whole grain instead of whole wheat.  Apparently whole wheat is processed.
  • Steel cut is preferred over rolled oats.
  • Wild rice over quick cook rice
  • Quick food over fast food.  Quick food can be almonds or fruit.

And Mrs. Mohler warned…it requires a lot more preparation.  Perhaps we prep our food ahead of time.  On the weekends, make an “extra” dish and freeze for later!  Or prepare a weeks worth of lunch meat on Sunday night.  Actually might make us better with our time management during the week!

So, my plan of action???

If I eat better, and re-think my stress, I will be better off.  I say this as I just downed some cola – which, by the way, is cement cleaner.  It appears, I have a lot of work to do.

What do you do to stay balanced?  What has worked for you, and what hasn’t?

Thank Goodness it’s Friday!!!

Thank goodness it’s the weekend.  This has been one long and rough week.  My hubby was out of town ALL week and will come back late tonight.  Now, normally, it really isn’t that big of deal.  I take Aiden to daycare in the morning, then pick him up after work, we eat, play, then go to bed.

On Monday, I was thinking of the things I’d get done while hubby was gone: upload some pictures, catch up on laundry, keep the house clean, clean the bedroom, catch up on my favorite TV shows – you know use the remote control (I NEVER get to do that).

Thinking…that was my mistake.

I forgot about the time change.   Bedtime was a NIGHTMARE.  Lights are typically out around 8 and hopefully, my little 2-year old is asleep by 8:30.  And sadly, our bedtime routine still isn’t great, but I can normally get out of his room around 8:30.  We’re not quite at the stage where I can kiss him good night and leave the room.  Sigh.  Hopefully soon.  However, EVERY night this week, he would get out of bed, cry, procrastinate, cry more, and finally fall asleep at 9:45.  Yikes.  I was FRIED every night. 

Then in the morning, our new issue is getting dressed.  He just doesn’t want to.  It’s like a wrestling match every morning.  When I get one pant leg on, he yanks it off.  Another NIGHTMARE.  Bribery is not working.  Distraction is not working.  One morning, I literally felt like I had been at the gym for a couple of hours.  I was sore.  I couldn’t wait to get to work.

Now, even if my hubby had been here, this still would have happened.  He just would have been around to help at night.  (He leaves early, so I’m on my own in the am).  Well, not so much at bedtime, since my little kiddo always wants me to put him to bed.  But I could have “escaped” a few times. 

And my poor dog got little attention from me.  We would sit on the couch for an hour, then I would be off to bed.  I think dog park is definitely calling his name this weekend.  I look forward to the days when I can run with him, and take him to our running club.  We’re still working on walks where he doesn’t go crazy.  There’s been definite progress, but training is always constant.  FYI, I haven’t tried to take Aiden and the dog for a walk at the same time by myself yet – as I mentioned in my post a few weeks ago, that was a goal.  I think I could do it though.  I’ve just been lazy.

I admire you single moms.  I don’t know how you do it.   There were a few occasions where I thought I was going to lose it.  I had to breathe, count to 50, walk away.  And honestly, I don’t know how stay-at-home moms do it either.   But we all have our strengths. 

You know, I only have 2 issues right now.  Not bad.  And the rest of the time, we had fun.  He is such a joy to be around.   Crazy how much I love that little guy.

So any suggestions?

Oh….what happened to me???

Since the birth of my son, I feel like I’ve “let myself go.”  So one of my goals for 2011 was to make a better effort in my appearance.    Really, it was to get back to looking and feeling fabulously.

One thing to note, my office has no dress code and there are only a few of us.  So there’s no dress to impress.  Plus, I probably only see a few other people during the course of the day.  Otherwise, I’m chained to my desk.  I’m lucky, but on the flip side, I make absolutely no efforts when I leave my house in the morning.  I stick to the classics (black, tan, brown — boring) for clothing but that’s what I like.  I love hats, so when I have no time in the morning to put some curls in the hair (that never cooperates anyway), I put a hat on.  But I admit, they’re cute hats.  And I only have 4.  I’m getting burned out on them.

So January was a bust.  The month started off badly with the death of my best friend’s sister.  I actually had forgotten about my yearly goals, so we started anew in February.   Ok, late February.  So my goals are to:

  1. Put make-up on.  This means concealer, powder, mascara, and lipstick.  I’ll try to get some eyeshadow on there too.
  2. Do my hair.  Ok, I’m really lazy and I hate doing my hair.  I like having a hairstyle that can just dry and go.  Too bad my hair doesn’t feel the same way.  It never cooperates for me. 
  3. Spend some quality me time on myself — pedicures, baths, face masks, whatever.
  4. Start acquiring new clothes, or lose the extra 15 pound and wear my “skinny” clothes!  (That are probably outdated now…)

So, it’s March now.  What have I accomplished?

I’ve had a pedicure AND I got my eyebrows waxed.  Let me just say, I feel so much better!  It’s amazing what pulling some little hairs does to your self-esteem.   I even took a nice, long bath this last Sunday with a glass a wine.  That was awesome.  I used to do that every Sunday (pre-husband and baby) and I think I really need to get back to that.  I started off the week great.

And for the last month, I’ve made a good effort in putting make-up on and doing my hair.  Now I just have to work on the wardrobe.  Where are those make-over shows anyway???

So what do you do for yourself?

Is it just me?

Do you ever look around at your family (extended family, like parents, siblings, cousins, etc.) and think, am I the only normal one?  I have decided that my family is just nuts.  I’m sure they think the same of me, but this is about me, and not them.  So there.

I come from your nomal Dysfunctional family (with a capital D), and I love them dearly, but they seriously get on my nerves.  My mom and I are pretty close, but we definitely have the normal mother/daughter dynamic going on.  My dad and I are getting closer.  The birth of my son has definitely brought him closer to me.  And my mom has helped with that relationship a lot (and they’re divorced).

I have two older brothers: one doesn’t talk to my mom, and the other probably shouldn’t.  He typically puts his foot in his mouth and says something wrong/hurtful — but then again, my mom probably does the same exact thing with him.

So why is it that family members just can’t get along?

Growing up, my mom was overbearing, critical, and demanding.  I’m sure there are more adjectives, but I just can’t think of any.  Bottom line though, I couldn’t wait to get away.  I moved away for school and never went back (even though I would love to, I’ve just made a home where I’m at now).  In these past few years, I’ve actually discovered that my mom is a person.  She’s gone through a lot of experiences and she’s made a lot of mistakes.  She might not fess up to all of them, but she admits that she makes them too. 

My brothers still see the woman who raised them.  And they still have gazillions of resentments and anger toward her.  Nothing I say or do will ever alter/adjust their opinion.  What I want to tell them is that our mom was 16 years old when she became a parent.  A time when it was unacceptable.  She had no parents of her own (losing them a few years earlier), so no one was there to help guide her or simply be there for her.  She did what she had to do to raise her kids.  she made mistakes.  But she’s still their mother.  She will still always love them, and always want whats best for them.  She will still want to know they’re ok.  Just because they don’t want her in their lives, doesn’t mean she can’t still have those motherly feelings. 

Perhaps I understand this now that I’m a parent.  I will make mistakes and I know that my son will resent me for things.  But I want to teach him that we should still try to get along.  You will have differences of opinions and resentments, but the bottom line is that we’re a family.  And we should accept each other — faults and all. 

I just wish my brothers could do that.