Bringing Myself Out of the Winter Slump

I’ve been in a slump, a funk. Not a sad slump, just a blah slump. Some of this, I think, is because I haven’t really seen my friends since New Year’s! Last year I made several plans with lots of friends and I honestly think that was such a mood booster!! Plus, here comes the broken record that is myself again, but flu season has been worse this year than last, and that’s something that obviously contributes to my daily stress and anxiety.

I don’t know, I just haven’t had any creative juices flowing lately. Can you relate? Too much on my plate everyday, but also not willing to shift things around to help clear ‘said plate’; because I don’t have anything meaty to talk about anyways? Make sense?

Even though I’m in a creative funk, and not as present on social media and this blog right now, I can assure you that I have been busy & giving 100% to therapy and other forms of mindfulness for overcoming my OCD. I have learned so many tools to use in everyday life and feel like occasionally, I should share the love with you all!

So, in the spirit of slumps, I wanted to share 4 tips for pushing forward EVEN THOUGH we may not feel as awesome as we would like or know that we can be.

1. See your friends. I have plans tomorrow night with one of my girlfriends I have known since 4th grade. It’s gonna be good for the soul. Text 5 friends today. See what they are doing. Do a little ‘friend fishing’, if you will. See if you can get something on the calendar!

2. Spend a little time working on artificially creating your own ‘sunshine’. Look up….and smile. Seriously. While you are looking up and smiling, (smiling like your life depended on it, ok…like you have a hanger in your mouth type of smile) I want you to think of a place or memory that makes you really happy, or one that always makes you feel relaxed. Spend about 15 minutes doing this. Then, write down the things that made you happy or feel relaxed and hang them on a mirror, in your office or on your fridge.

3. Try to move. Do you have kids; and do they enjoy dancing like no one is watching? Well, if you do….put those little performers and yourself to work showcasing some epic dance moves. Solo? Try to get OUTSIDE for a walk if the weather cooperates. Even just a few blocks. While walking, take several deep belly breaths, exhaling very slowly.

4. If you are strictly a spring and summer person like me, get a head start on it NOW! I’ve told my friends and family for the past two weekends I’m ‘willing spring into existance’. What I mean by this is that I’m trying to do things now that I would normally do in early spring. This helps me enjoy more outdoor time when the weather gets nicer. For example, this past weekend I cleaned my front porch off, washed down our front door, raked leaves and old moldy mulch out of our flower beds and deep cleaned my car. It felt so great to get these things done, and even greater knowing that when the weather breaks, we only have to add new mulch and add any additional decor we would like to our porch. 😍

I hope you enjoyed these suggestions and can weave them into your own schedules. This time of year is harder for me with gray skies, rain and snow. I’ve learned I kind of have to create my own kind of happy, so to speak. Oh and speaking of happy and all things sunshine, remember to take plenty of vitamin D3. 😉

Have a wonderful week and productive weekend ahead!!

Xoxo

Mary

Why Being an Advocate for Anxiety is So Important To Me

Hey friends!  Welcome back!  I truly hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about why it’s so important to me, to continue to tell and share my story about anxiety/OCD/panic disorder.  The obvious reason is that it helps others and helps me continue to push through my own anxiety when I consider the fact that I’ve talked to so many people and pointed so many in the right direction for help.

I wholeheartedly believe that one of the reasons God put me on this Earth was to be an advocate for anxiety.  The ginormous silver lining to the fact that I’ve struggled with anxiety since 4th grade, which then turned into panic disorder and OCD, is to be able to get up in front of anyone and tell my story, to help others.  It’s truly a gift.  It really is.

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When I was diagnosed with panic disorder, in the spring time of 2018, I was feverishly searching for someone else who had been through the same situations, someone else who got through it, and had tips and tricks or….just SOMETHING.  I googled, and I googled until I think I killed Google.  I searched for books that had some kind of similarity to what I was going through, asked my therapist for book ideas, searched Netflix for documentaries.  I literally turned up with nothing, which just made me feel so much worse and singled out.  I just wanted to find SOMEONE to relate to, read someone else’s story.

Most anxiety or PTSD situations start out by having some kind of trauma.  I didn’t have that.  I had a great childhood, a wonderful family, a great marriage and perfect kids.  I’m so thankful I didn’t have the trauma, but it always irritated me, because I would ask myself “why me, then  why all the anxiety disorders with no troubled past like the books and therapists say???”  Well the best answer I can come up with is “because it did, now get off your ass and help other people!”

My hope is that I can be “that person” that I was looking to relate to, 2 years ago when all this was happening to me, for others, if that makes sense.  I’ve been down several roads of anxiety disorders and come out on the other side victorious when it comes to panic disorder and general anxiety.  I’m not going to lie and say I’ve beat OCD, because I have not, and I’ve definitely still got a long road in front of me on the “stomach issue” part of my contamination OCD, BUT I will say that certain parts of my OCD have gotten better over the past year.  But, like with any anxiety disorder, it can come and go and OCD is generally a harder one to completely conquer since your brain is fighting itself.  That being said, I feel that sharing my obstacles and feelings regarding OCD can also be helpful to anyone else experiencing it.

I’ve said it before, but I’ve always been a story teller.  I’ve always wanted to write a book, about my life, and I would love nothing more than to be followed around by cameras most days of my life–haha!  So, if I can use whatever platform I have (though it may be small), to help other people through their anxiety struggles, I want to do it.  I want to be that person.  I want to be an ear for your irrational thoughts, because I’ve probably had them, I want to be the person to try and put your mind at ease and let you know that it’s not uncommon and so many more people have the same thoughts and same worries as you do!

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Just know, no one goes through (or should have to) go through any type of anxiety alone or feel isolated.  It’s such a common aspect of daily life now and it should be talked about.  Talking helps people work through it.  I’ve learned this time and time over, so now I’m reaching out….my ears are open and so is my heart.  If you don’t feel like you can talk to a professional or just aren’t ready to take that step yet, just know you will always have someone (me) to listen and offer some support.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Years and that your 2020 starts off blissfully and stress free 🙂

xoxox

 

NOVEMBER WARM FUZZIES

Hi friends!  It’s about that time of year-when I hunker down and go into my “why do I still live in the Midwest?” state of mind.  The weather is completely unpredictable from day to day and everything is turning brown, or white if there happens to be a random snowfall.  Although I enjoy decorating everything in white, I’m not a fan of it being outside…mmmmmk?  🙂

However, with that said, November always gives me the warm fuzzies, in that, after Thanksgiving, I’m full on Christmas mode, which sort of takes me back to being a kid, as it does for most people.  In honor of all the warm fuzzies, here are my absolute favorite things about late November.

***The start of Christmas movie season!  I don’t break them all out…but I do start the day after Thanksgiving with Miracle on 34th Street (the new one with Mara Wilson) and then usually watch Serendipity and The Holiday before month end.  Oh, and also, every year I find myself buying another favorite movie, since I’m getting too impatient in my old age (ha) to wait for them to come on TV.  Haha!

Miracle on 34th street

The Holiday movie

***Thanksgiving leftovers.  I mean….right??  I’m pretty sure Brock and I eat turkey sandwiches, turkey salad and turkey for breakfast for a week after Thanksgiving.  Yes, turkey for breakfast…put it in a pan, flip it a few times and have it with eggs and toast.  And, since our turkey isn’t crazy marinated or fried, I feel like it’s the only healthy thing to come out of Thanksgiving.  Speaking of healthy choices–I also love eating a slice of pumpkin or apple pie, for pretty much everyday after Thanksgiving, for a good week.  My mom eats pumpkin pie for breakfast after Thanksgiving.  I mean, I’m not there….yet.  But, I seem to be headed down that path. Don’t know what to do with all the leftovers?  Well, you could start here with this amazing panini RECIPE

***Decorating for Christmas.  I personally am old school and believe every holiday needs it’s own time.  I also am crazy busy with work and sports and life, so no shame to those who jump the gun and decorate early.  Truth be told, if we didn’t host Thanksgiving, I would most likely have the trees up the week of Thanksgiving, just so I could enjoy them the day after Thanksgiving and not be rushing around like a crazy person on my day off.  I typically have Brock get everything down the day after and put the trees up and start decorating them with the kids, and spend the next week or so getting everything else out and up.

***Christmas mugs for life!  You know what I do FIRST THING after I get my kitchen cleaned up after our guests leave?  Get out my Christmas mug collection!  I have, probably like most, had a few Christmas mugs stashed in my cabinet for years.  However, in the past 5 years or so, I decided that I wanted to start picking more up, because these mugs bring me so much silly joy for an entire month!  What used to be 3 random Christmas mugs from the early 2000’s has now turned into about 20 mugs!!  I’m not even sorry!  It’s probably the most inexpensive, joy filled tradition I have for myself in November/December.  My 2 newest additions can be found HERE & HERE!

These things are all simple, yet bring me so much joy in the start of a season for giving and sharing.

I hope you can find time to look for the things that bring you the most smiles as we head into the Christmas season.

Cheers!

xoxoxo

Mary

 

Last 90 Days: Check In!

Roll call!  Who’s still very much into the Last 90 Days Challenge?  Me! Me! Me!

So, but really, how’s everyone doing?  I am still going strong!  Sure, I’ve had days where I didn’t get all 70 ounces of water, but came really close.  I’ve had 2 days where I found myself eating tortilla chips (I gave up all chips because they are a major trigger for me!), and I’ve had 2 days where I just laid around and didn’t hop on the treadmill, or trampoline or do pilates, because I knew my body needed some grace.  Overall, I’m pretty stinkin’ proud of myself!

The thing that surprises me the most is that I actually LIKE getting up earlier.  I get up about an hour earlier, but what I’ve found is that by the time I make a cup of coffee,  let the dog out, feed her and get to my office, I only have about 35 minutes of actual time for myself.  So I think I need to make some adjustments, but I never ever thought I would be one to get up an hour earlier.  I fought it for so many years and this challenge just made me realize I should give it a try to say I actually tried it!  BOOM!  Love it.  Not only that, but most days Brayden gets up earlier now too.  He’s our early riser anyways, but he likes to get up early now to have some time to fiddle around and relax before school.

As a reminder, the 5 concepts that go along with the last 90 days are:

5-to-Thrive

This is not a weight loss challenge, this is an “I don’t give up on myself” challenge.  It’s all about showing yourself you can commit to something for 90 days.  Obviously, the hope is that you can make these new habits stick well beyond the last 90 days of the year.

If you are participating, I’d love to hear how you are doing!  What tips can you share?

Have a great weekend, all!  Make good choices and take care of you!

xoxox

october 2019

 

Five Quick but Extremely Therapeutic Ways to Battle OCD

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Hi friends!

Now that we have discussed what OCD is, what types are out in the world and how diagnosis usually works; I wanted to give my 5 best, most helpful, tips on overcoming an intrusive thought spurred on by the OCD.

These are tips I’ve picked up in my years of therapy and through the many books and documentaries I’ve read and watched.  I truly hope they help.

1. Be present.  When an intrusive thought “attacks”, try to take yourself out of the situation mentally.  Be mindful of every single detail of your surroundings and try to focus on this.  What’s the air like?  Is it a pretty day?  What color is that tree?  I wonder when that field will be harvested (sorry, Indiana girl here).  Force yourself to take that thought, pick it up, and move it aside.  Sit with it, be ok with it, and move it aside by thinking grounding thoughts.

2. Breathe.  It sounds ridiculously simple, but it’s life changing.  Breathing calms the body down like nothing else can.  Focus on your breath.  Breathe in through your nose for a count of 5, release through your mouth for a count of 5.  Do this about 10 times to regain control of your emotions and thoughts.

3. Pray.  I’m Christian, so this is one I use a lot.  However you choose to be spiritual and practice that; bring those tools to the table for this one.  Pray for relief and understanding, pray for a sense of calm and confidence. Don’t repeat the same prayer, try to keep it simple, to the point and mindful.

4. Write the fear down.  Do a “brain dump” of all the feelings you have at that very moment.  Why does that thought make you feel that way?  What brought the thought on?  How do you see yourself getting out of the situation or putting the thought aside.  Treat the thought like it’s a person if that helps.  Give it a name.  It may sound silly, but our brains acknowledgement a feeling better when it’s given a name.  What do you think you have to do, step by step, to defeat this feeling/person/thought?

5. Ground yourself with gratitude.  No really, it works in a moment of fear like nothing else.  When you feel the intrusive thoughts boiling to the surface, stop them by looking around you and seeing the things you are grateful for.  Are you alive and healthy?  Are you at work, out with friends, driving your own car?  Do you have kids?  Can you afford the privilege of college?  Do you have an animal you love? Close friendships?  Supportive people in your life?  Think of them, think of all of it.

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xoxox

Mary

 

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