Month: January 2020

Fight the January Blues

January sunsets don’t disappoint

Historically, January has been my darkest month of the year. It’s probably the combination of coming down from the holidays, coldness, no sunlight and just nothing happening all month. This year I was determined to fight the down feeling that seems to pervade every crevice of my life, so I made a plan and so far, 8 days into the year, I’m feeling the best I have in January in a long time (ya know, aside from the double ear infection which I finally feel mostly whole from today).

  1. Go Outside/Sunlight

Living in Indiana does not make the winter easy (especially if you suffer from SAD). The sun is generally not around and the cold can be very bitter. This year, so far it has been warmish (upside to global warming) and the sun has been shining. I have spent time outside every day this week. A lot of it has just been wrapped up in a blanket with my face to the sun (because I’ve been sick), but one day the kids and I hiked around and played Star Wars.

I also asked for a therapy light for Christmas. It looks like a little iPad and it mimics sunlight. I’ve been turning it on and sitting with it while I do my morning reading (or now why I write).

2. Vitamins/Diet

A healthy diet is not my strong suit, it is something I always battle. Eating bad food is just sometimes how I deal with everything. So naturally I am deficient in the vitamins I need to even feel good. In fact, I recently got a trim and my hairdresser noted my hair seemed unhealthy (brittle). Yes, thank you, 2019 wasn’t my best year. So each morning I’ve been trying to take an array of vitamins to help replenish what I am lacking in diet.

3. Writing/Reading

Writing and reading are my outlets, what I’m “good” at (or at least what I’m not bad at…hopefully). It’s why I enjoy doing. And while generally I already read most days, there have been several books I’ve started and have just been lazy about finishing. Or there are times I waste just scrolling around on social media that I could be putting to better use. So far I’ve finished 2 books that I had started last year and have made progress in several others.

I’ve also been reading books that are helping me solve my actual problems. It turns out that I don’t know everything about parenting and I have leaned on yelling/just telling them what to do and guys, if you have a smart, strong willed child like I do, that just doesn’t work. You need to understand how their brains work, you need to understand why you parent the way you do and how you can improve. You can learn and make plans to figure whatever problem out that is weighing you down. And you’re likely not the first person to encounter it. There’s a book for that.

That 2nd book sounds scary, it’s just about problem solving with your children

I’ve been journaling every day. I’ve been stopping to journal when my worries/anxiety start to turn on and build up. I’ve been taking a moment to recenter myself. It’s okay to need a break.

And obviously I’ve blogged more in the last two weeks then I have in the last couple years. But the writing side of my brain seems turned back on. I narrate stories in my head again that I could share. It’s hard to explain, but a flip has been switched back on.

Writing really is therapeutic guys, it’s been proven to help our brains process things.

(And I’ve sent 3 letters out!)

4. Physical Activity

Everyone knows that the more you move the better you’ll feel. I haven’t been able to workout this year (but hopefully today that will change!). We are renewing our gym memberships, I’ve got new sneakers and I’m ready to rebuild my healthy body. Intense workout is also a great way to keep anxiety at bay.

5. Prayer/Self Talk

I know you’re not all religious out there and when someone says “just pray about it” it’s easy to roll your eyes. I even do it sometimes! But I also know there’s power in prayer and that God does not leave us to do this life alone. He is present in real way.

There’s also a lot of power in self talk. I sit here and I motivate myself with reminders every day: I am capable. I am worthy. I am loved. I can do hard things. I make plans and problem solve the things that weigh on me and give me anxiety. I no longer want my thoughts to bury me.

6. Be Present

It is SO easy to just want to escape into mindless scrolling. There’s something about it that soothes our brains like a drug does. But guys it really doesn’t. It’s a temporary comfort. Set your phone down, pick up something else. Go stare at the sky. Breathe in fresh air. Crank your music. Spend 15 minutes tackling a project. Plan a family night. Read a chapter in a book.

7. Let Go

Therapy. I know it can have a negative connotation and that mental health/illness can be something we want to hide or not be forth coming about. But I can not stress enough that your mental health is the most important health you can have. So if you need to talk to someone, do whatever you need to do to make that happen.

It will help your let go of the things you are holding on to, the trauma that changed your brain, it can be repaired. There is hope.

And I know, I do, that this is all hard. It doesn’t happen over night. I lived in a fog for so long I couldn’t even sit down and say…I need to change, I need healthier solutions. Take it each day, do 1% better each day. Small changes, become big improvements.

And reach out if you need to. We are all out here trying to do the best we can each day.

And finally, be kind to yourself.

2020

New year, new me? Right? I hate that saying as much as you do. I know resolutions sometimes get a bad rap, but for me it is helpful to measure things in a year’s span (and maybe even month by month this year). When I look back at 2019, it feels like…just a bad year. Not because we didn’t do fun things or have new experiences but because I struggled so much emotionally. I need to take time and reflect on all of the good though, and not let the darkness overshadow all of the light. My phone created a video of 2019 in review and it was absolutely beautiful. I know I have a blessed life, it’s just not always easy to feel that, but that’s getting better.

I am hopeful for 2020, it just looks like a good number. And despite starting it with a double ear infection and no running water for the time being (bye $), I know it will be full of light even if the darkness sometimes tries to overshadow it.

Here are my hopes for 2020:

FAITH

  • Attend adoration 1x a month
  • Take more time for daily prayer (interrupt those moments in my day that I need to take a step back and center myself).
  • Read one spiritual book a month (take time daily to read scripture on top of this).
  • Go on a retreat

FAMILY/HOME

  • Declutter, declutter, declutter
  • Create new spaces to be better organized (for library books, mail, paperwork, etc).
  • Purge closets, create better systems
  • Try new recipes (Josh made 1 yesterday, chicken guacamole bacon melt and I tried a new chicken tortilla soup, so good!)
  • Buy new windows for the house
  • Finish the kid’s bedrooms
  • Travel to a new destination (or 2)
  • Family night 1x week with fun activities

HEALTH

  • Gym/work out 4x a week
  • Intermittent Fasting
  • Consistently take vitamins
  • Get sunlight (real, by pushing myself to go outside even if it’s cold or with my new sunlight therapy)
  • Healthier diet/less eating out/actually eat full meals
  • Less phone time
  • Go outside even if it’s cold

READING/WRITING

  • Journaling daily
  • Blogging 1x a week
  • Write/send letters (do you want one?!)
  • Read 52 books
  • Read only awesome books 😉

What are your hopes/goals for 2020?

2020 Book Look Ahead

I should be trying to sleep because my head feels awful from what may or may not be a sinus infection that is taking it’s sweet time hanging out, making me wonder if it will become a full blown one. But I thought I’d get at least a start on another blog. It’s like working out, if I go too long then I may never start again. (Update next day: pretty sure it’s a sinus infection.)

Here’s a look ahead at some books I’m excited to read.

The Ballard of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

This is the prequel to The Hunger Games series, which is my 2nd favorite series. I’m nervous to get excited for it, it’s hard to know what to expect. I may reread the entire series (and watch the movies), it’s been a few years. It hits shelves May 19, 2020.

The Heart of Perfection by Colleen Carroll Campbell

I loved this author’s other book (My Sisters the Saints), so I’m really looking forward to this (maybe April will read it with me 😉). I need books that are gonna pull me up to the light.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

I’ve enjoyed all of Moyes’ books (you may have heard of Me Before You) and this one has had great reviews (and a long waiting list).

Being Brave in the Scared by Mary Lenaburg

I found this book on Instagram through some accounts I have followed and it seems like a book that will meet me where I’m at in some ways.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I’ve had this book and series on my list for a long time. I have no idea what it’s actually about but I do love a good series. Do you have a favorite series to suggest?

Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly

I’ve read several of Kelly’s books and they’ve all given me something. I’ve thought about reading this book for awhile because I think I over complicate things sometimes.

A Parent Who Prays by Katie Warner

I saw this book mentioned in Instagram too. It’s kind of a little devotional you can write in and I’m excited to get started in it.

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