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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – My Struggle, My Story

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I have put off writing this post for a long, loonnng time. Not because I am afraid people will think I am a freak but because I want to portray this behavior accurately and maybe even help just one person who also struggles and can relate to what I speak of.

We all have a story – a part of us that we can choose to share or choose to protect and keep hidden. I finally feel as though I can share the raw, gritty details of my anxiety disorder even if it feels as though I am ripping off a Band-Aid to a wound that is always at the surface.

So now that I have finished procrastinating I am ready to finally share a chapter of my story. First let me give you some background…

I grew up in a loving home in a teeny tiny town with two working parents and an older brother. We always had what we needed but not a lot of the extra, fancy stuff. We had more than enough though. My Mom was a pretty decent housekeeper and like any parent who works full time there were the occasional times where things got messy and untidy. My parents were quite traditional in that Mom did the majority of the cooking and cleaning and dad did more of the yard and vehicle maintenance. As a small child I always liked things neat and tidy. We didn’t have a ton of stuff, definitely not many brand new things; even a large portion of my wardrobe were hand-me-downs from my cousins (I was the youngest). I didn’t mind though. I just liked my home and my belongings to be in order. I found myself always looking through catalogs and getting rid of the ones that expired, I put things neatly in piles, I was always looking to get rid of food that was past its prime and I enjoyed vacuuming, (I still do!) I liked things in straight lines and symmetry was my friend. Then there was my room. My parents NEVER had to tell me to clean or pick up my room. I wanted my closet to be organized and would only keep the clothes that fit and so I hung them according to type and even colour. Ok now this is the part where you might think I am insane; that’s ok. I would also space my hangers evenly because I thought that it looked neater. My dresser, bedside table and bookcase would always have a clean and uncluttered look. I would never, ever have clothing, garbage or items that were not put away. My posters were carefully placed on my walls symmetrically. I was constantly trying to make my room look nice. Only when I thought it looked perfect was when my mind could rest.

I loved reading and art. Ahhh, art was a passion of mine. I also played piano, loved my dance classes, and played the odd sport. I found school projects would take a long time for me. It wasn’t that I didn’t do them. I was quite eager to please, it was just very stressful and I was a perfectionist – and then some. My grades were usually average or above. Not because anything came easy to me but because I worked my ass off for every mark that I got. Like I said I loved art, I even took an advanced art class by correspondence. Any poster or project that I ever did took me hours upon hours to complete. I would draw and erase and draw and erase. I was meticulous with shading and tried to get everything looking as life-like as possible. Some might say that the process was pain-staking. I don’t think that anyone noticed how school work gnawed at me at times. I got my work done and I did fine so no one paid much attention.

It wasn’t just about order and neatness for me. A big part of my life has been worry over this and that. Sometimes things that one might consider worthy of worry and much that people wouldn’t think twice about. I would and still do agonize over many things – comments, things that have hurt me, even other people’s issues. I do not take lightly to anyone hurting those that I love – call me loyal or call me the grudge. But when I was hurt I felt it and still do for a long, long time. 

It is interesting now that I think about it. I always enjoyed going to my friend’s house SO much. I didn’t care what their home or rooms looked like. Their messiness didn’t bother me… unless it was extreme chaos. I felt like I could relax. I didn’t have to think about things being in order because it wasn’t my stuff. I have always offered to help clean up though, I still do. Sometimes I will just start doing dishes at my friends’ houses after a meal. I never want to be a burden. My hubby says that isn’t necessary but I look at it as helpful. The way I look at it, is if someone is kind enough to invite me to their home for a meal then the least I can do to show thanks is help clean up. That is partly my upbringing too.

As I grew up and got my own home and had children suddenly things got a little more complicated. I wanted my home to remain clean and tidy with everything put away in its place. We all know that is easier when you are alone but with the addition of more people under one roof things become more complicated. They don’t clean up the way you think they should or even at all. I was becoming agitated when my son was making ‘messes’ with his toys, or when my husband was not helping out with chores to my standards. I was literally picking up toys behind my little boy. All. Day. Long. My husband, bless his heart would get frustrated with me as he felt like I was just going to go behind him and re-do anything that he had tried to help with. I would sometimes point these things out. That was hurtful to him. I would refold the laundry. I would also re-clean in all the nooks and crannies that I felt he missed. I understand why this would be upsetting to him, yet I could not (sometimes I still can’t) leave it alone. We have even joked that I would be really good at being one of the basic training officers in the Military with a white glove, going around and inspecting the recruits’ rooms. Making sure that everything was ship-shape. The truth of the matter is there have been frustrations on both sides. I have been a puddle of tears many-a-day over things that I know should not be a worry – things that most ‘normal’ people don’t think twice about. I have had days where I want to call-in sick and stay under the covers and just not face the day and all of the constant harping thoughts in my head. It can be exhausting. Some days it can be a chore just to get out the door as I cannot leave until everything is done. 

I admit I have some crazy habits. (This is the part of my story where you will think I am a freak.) Deep breath. Here I go… I like to run my hands over the counter tops and feel a smooth surface with no crumbs. If I feel like they are too dirty then everything gets moved off of them and I clean them from the back splash to the edge of the counters which often leads to wiping my cupboards. I sweep and vacuum regularly – sometimes daily. It honestly depends on the day and what is weighing on my mind at the time. Sometimes it is counters, sometimes it is a project, sometimes it is errands or items out of place. I try not to get too busy because the overwhelming feeling is almost unbearable. It suffocates me. I have wondered what it would be like to not have the obsessions and compulsions. I can’t imagine how freeing it would be.

So you probably guessed that I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Here is the official definition as per anxietybc.com.

“Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that affects about 1-2% of the population. People with OCD experience both obsessions and compulsions.

  • Obsessions are unwanted and disturbing thoughts, images, or impulses that suddenly pop into the mind and cause a great deal of anxiety or distress.
  • Compulsions are deliberate behaviors (e.g. washing, checking, ordering) or mental acts (e.g. praying, counting, repeating phrases) that are carried out to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsessions.”

I was once informed by a Counselor that we all have some OCD tendencies. Many of us have habits or things that we like done in a certain way. You may have to load the dishwasher a certain way, put your groceries on the belt in the store a certain way or fold your laundry exactly the way you like it. When you have OCD it’s not a matter of having a few habits. It is also about the thoughts that play over and over in your mind until they are ‘dealt’ with. In other words if I see something that is out of place it might be on my mind over and over until I put it back where I think it should be. It doesn’t just go away on its own. It can be quite stressful for me especially if I am tired and don’t have the energy to get it done. But I do, no matter the time. <Cue frustration with my family who don’t see ‘the problem’.>

You may think then why do you let these things happen?  Well OCD can be a debilitating disorder. I put on a pretty good front and joke about it at times. Most of my friends laugh about it and say that I should go to their homes and clean. Often I take it in stride and it doesn’t bother me – there is the odd time that it does. I don’t think many people understand the ins and outs of it. Sometimes when we think of OCD we think of the person that washes their hands repetitively until they are raw. But there are so many forms of it. I should also add that I don’t always let it get the ‘best’ of me but sometimes I feel like I can’t control the beast. 

This is adapted from the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health

Common Obsessions

When the fears reflected in the following obsessions are experienced, they usually result in immediate anxiety. Some of the more common obsessions are:

Contamination

  • fear of contamination by dirt, germs, or other diseases (for example, by shaking hands)
  • fear of own bodily fluids

Repeated Doubting

  • fear of not having done a specific act that could result in harm (for example, turning off the stove, hurting someone in a traffic accident or leaving a door unlocked)
  • making a mistake

Ordering

  • fear that things will not be “just right” and become distressed when things are shifted or touched
  • focus on exactness and order

Religious

  • fear of having blasphemous thoughts
  • preoccupation with religious images and thoughts

Aggressive

  • fear of harming oneself (for example, while eating with a knife or a fork, handling sharp objects or walking near glass windows)
  • fear of harming others (for example, poisoning people’s food, harming babies, pushing someone in front of a train or hurting someone’s feelings)
  • fear of blurting out obscenities in public

Sexual

  • forbidden or unwanted sexual thoughts, images or urges
  • fear of being homosexual

Compulsions

Most people who experience obsessions engage in extreme rituals, or compulsions. Acting out these compulsions does not give them pleasure, but it can help them feel less anxious or distressed. Compulsions can be very rigid and involve elaborate steps. They are either not realistically connected with what they are meant to stop or they are extreme beyond reason. Although by no means an exhaustive list, common compulsions include:

Cleaning/Washing

  • washing hands too often or in a ritualized way; showering; bathing; brushing teeth; grooming a lot or having detailed toilet routines; cleaning household items or other objects
  • avoiding objects and situations considered “contaminated”

Checking

  • checking that you don’t harm others or yourself; checking that nothing terrible happens; checking that you don’t make mistakes

Ordering/Arranging

  • making sure things are just right, or are consistent with a specific rule, such as bed sheets or notes on the desk

Hoarding

  • collecting seemingly useless items, such as paper, magazines, towels, bottles or pieces of garbage
  • unable to throw these same things away

OCD

It is unknown as to what causes OCD. Some think that it may be genetic (which I am unsure of as I am adopted). Recently research has identified that people with OCD have low serotonin levels. It is one of the brain’s chemical messengers that transmit signals between brain cells. Serotonin plays a role in the regulation of mood, aggression, impulse control, sleep, appetite, body temperature and pain. All of the medicines used to treat OCD raise the levels of serotonin available to transmit messages. Some other studies say that the brain activity is different in people with this disorder. All I know is there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer.

So what can we do? It wasn’t that long ago when doctors thought that this disorder was untreatable. Cognitive and behavioural therapy and medication (anti-depressants) are a couple of ways that people seek help. I cannot speak for either though I am learning about them with research. Many people with OCD benefit from supportive counselling in addition to treatments aimed at reducing the symptoms of OCD. Individuals may see a therapist one-on-one, or they may involve the partner, spouse or family in counselling. Group therapy (with people who have similar concerns) can also help. There are options which is encouraging.

I just want people to know that they are not alone. Though it can feel like it at times; like you are a prisoner of your own thoughts. It is not hopeless. You should not feel ashamed. You are worthy. Seek help with a specialist that understands anxiety disorders. Find a support group and surround yourself with people who accept you know matter what.

happiness

For me the pain isn’t gone nor is the sadness, the tightness in the chest, the palpitations when something is weighing on me. Yes my loved ones have been victim to the wrath of getting in my way to get things done. Yes I have yelled, screamed, cried and freaked out. There is no cure but each day is a new day with new possibilities and I know that those closest to me love me anyways. I will continue to try every single day to keep the upset to a minimum. I know I have come a long way and still have a ways to go. I know that I can take this curse and turn it into a gift as I have with helping others strive to get out of their chaos and get more organized. I can take each day as it comes and look forward to the possibilities instead of dreading the worst. I. Am. Me. And I too am deserving of a life that is valuable.

If anyone out there reading this, thanks for stopping by to ‘hear’ my story. If you have anything to share I would love to listen.

Hugs and happiness,

Krystal

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Just Tomato Soup

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“What’s for supper”

A text message from my daughter interrupts my work just I’m about to finish up for the day. Annoyed, I ignore it, though I am dying to reply “idk, what are YOU making?” but I let the moment pass since it doesn’t serve either of us. I do ponder yet again why I don’t have the kids make more meals…and why I have kids in the first place.

I’m tired today. Some days, I just want to go home and curl up with a good book and fall asleep at 8. Some days I crave it so badly it brings a tear to my eye when I realize I just can’t today. I let that moment pass too.

I walk home and trip over everyone’s shoes at the front door. Then I grab my other mitts and shovel for the next half hour, listening to my music. I feel the cold air on my exposed face. It feels good to feel my heart pounding and I hear nothing else but my music and the scrape of the shovel. I could get them off their butts to help me. Yes, they should have had it done before I got home. I let them have their space and I greedily take mine. Outside, no one in my head or my ear. Just me and the winter. And the day melts away.

Back inside, I am asked again “What’s for supper?”

“Tomato soup and grilled cheese” I reply.

Yep, just tomato soup. No Facebook-worthy vegetarian gourmet meal. No old family recipe that I’ve been making for ages. Nothing that will find it’s way to a Pinterest board. Just tomato soup.

No Facebook-worthy vegetarian gourmet meal, just tomato soup.

 

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I pull out the relatively expensive box of amazing organic tomato soup that I didn’t make myself but discovered that everyone loves. I start to warm it on the stove. I cut up the delicious Gouda cheese, and a little bit of the jalapeno Havarti. I slather butter on one side of some yummy, soft rye bread I bought yesterday. I grab a few slices of the ham I bought for lunches. I assemble and cook them into toasted, melty goodness and pour the soup into bowls. Cucumber slices circle the plates and I deliver them to children who stop what they are doing to exclaim “Thanks Momma!”

I love it when they are like little kids again. Gleeful, calling me “Momma”, full of excitement and gratefulness for one of their favorite comfort foods. It fills my heart more than the winter air did. We sit together and visit about any little thing that comes to their heads. I crumble exactly 5 perfect plain crackers into my soup. I’ve always done it that way. Exactly 5, gathered together and lovingly crushed and sprinkled into my tomato soup. And I am 13 again too. With my own Momma and brother and sisters, talking about nothing and everything all at once.

I love it when they are like little kids again.

Melty cheese is stuck to her chin and we laugh. I quickly make another for him. Suddenly I realize that he is taller than me and finally I understand why he’s always scrounging for something else to eat! My heart aches a little as I think about how quickly their older brother grew and now makes his own tomato soup in a different house, thankfully, not too far away. But away, just the same. My tomato soup silly evenings are disappearing fast.

I am savoring every moment with them, every simple slurp of their teen lives and the melty bites in between where they allow me to be their “Momma” even for a minute. Hugging me with my head on their shoulders now that they are so much bigger than me. I relish every complaint about the beautiful meals I make them that they like less because someday, I will be eating without them.

I am savoring every moment with them

It doesn’t matter what we eat. It matters HOW we eat. Take in every morsel with exuberance and with attention to who you are with. Put down your damn phone and be with the food. Be with them. Be with yourself for a few minutes. Indulge yourself with the expensive favorite dessert, the steak dinner that he made for you, the bowl of cereal you manage to squeeze into your morning, the apple at your desk.

Feel every single piece of life that it has to offer. No criticism, no guilt, no remorse that it could have been healthier, cheaper, easier, more gourmet. Just eat.

Tomato soup simple. Just tomato soup. Just for today.

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We all struggle with the whole meal planning thing. We’ve worked out some help for you, our free Meal Planning Hat Trick has tons of ideas and free recipes. Sign up below.

What are your biggest struggles with food? We want to help. Let us know in the comments or email us. We are here for you.

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Another Ordinary Day

walk-2021_1920I see you, on the ordinary street. You are wearing ordinary clothes and your hair is ordinary. Your face is ordinary. You walk in an ordinary way going to your ordinary job. If I knew your name, it would be ordinary too.
But you are far from ordinary. And I see that too.
You are more than the alarm clock beside your bed. Grateful to find yourself in a new day, you rise with a smile. You think about the quiet space that awaits you in your little corner of the room. The soft light welcomes you to your comfy chair. Silence surrounds you. With a loving heart, you pause, reflecting on the people you love and the life you are leading. Gentle music lifts your spirits and you listen to your angels as they whisper to you in your space.
In the shower, you let the hot water stream down your shoulders, caressing and warming your skin. You hear applause in the noise of the jet stream and you imagine yourself five years from now in another place, doing other things. Again, you pause in gratitude for where you came from, and where you are but you know that this is not where the story ends. You smile as you hear the applause again.
You let your hands rub the oils on your skin, taking pleasure in the simple joy of allowing yourself this little indulgence made just for you. The clothes you select make you feel good and comfortable, it does not matter to you what name is emblazoned on the tag. It all makes no difference as long as it makes you feel like you are you.
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You are more than the ordinary breakfast you have this morning. You choose that orange carefully. You smell the tangy citrus as you peel it. You notice the tiny spray of orange drops as you pull the peel from the flesh. You taste the bold sweetness as it drips down your chin.
The street is far from ordinary to you. You notice the songs of the birds on your walk. You wonder how soon they will heading south. You catch a glimpse of the growing garden in your neighbor’s yard and you remind yourself how good fresh picked peas taste at this time of year. You notice that there are a few leaves that have changed color and you remember how fleeting summer days are. Your mind recalls all of the adventures you have had so far and you smile at the ones to come today.
Your job is not who you are, but you bring yourself to your job. Each day, you do whatever you can to help someone, even if it’s just one person. Your smile brightens the world of someone who is struggling today in their cubicle. You don’t know this, but you smile anyway. There are days when you struggle too, but you have also witnessed the days when things go right. You choose to accept those tough days as lessons and move on to the next.
You leave your job, there at the office. You know that carrying that burden further into your day serves no one, least of all you. You have done your best with the resources you had control over. You breath and you move on.
You hear their voices long before you see them. Again, you marvel at how much they have grown. She towers over you and on this day, she ventures to hug her ordinary momma. Tomorrow may be different, so you gratefully return the embrace. He barely acknowledges you right now, and that’s ok, you know he hears your love in your questions about the day. It is all he needs for now. Later, he will sit beside you on the couch, feeling safe in the knowledge that he doesn’t have to say a word and you are there for him.
Together, you enjoy an ordinary meal that nourishes more than your body. It nourishes your soul as you share the food with those you love. You reflect on how much you have changed what you choose to eat over the years. You don’t criticize, you just understand that you are learning and growing and becoming more.
Dishes done, the house settling, your ordinary day draws to a close. You welcome the peace and tranquility of your room. You share this room with your true love and you adore this part of the day. The warm, soft blankets, the amber light, the protective arms and kisses that make you feel like so much more than ordinary. Quiet surrounds you as you curl up next to him with your latest book. Both of you make sure that at least a foot or a hand is touching the other as you fall asleep.
And there you breathe; your ordinary breath, at the end of a far from ordinary day.
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This post inspired by the Writing Prompts over at Mama’s Losin’ It and My 500 Words writing challenge from Jeff Goins.
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self-care thursday

Bringing Happiness Closer

self-care thursdayI read this very timely post from Joshua today: 7 Questions to Bring Happiness Closer. It’s what we were discussing at Divine Goddess Book Club last night as well (we are talking about the book, Happier at Home right now). It seems that so many of us keep striving to find happiness outside of ourselves. Gretchen Rubin discusses “Interior Design” in her book which focuses on what can I do INTERNALLY to create my own happiness.

I was compelled to answer Joshua’s 7 questions from his post for myself and thought I’d share my answers here with you.

1. What can I be thankful for?

Oh my, I am so thankful for so many things. Practicing Gratitude regularly has completely changed how I perceive my day. Right now, for example, I am grateful for this summer of being home. I’ve been spending really amazing time with my kids, my extended family and with my friends. I’ve been spending time with myself as well and this has changed me. I am happier because I am grateful for what I have right now instead of all the things I wish I had.

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2. Who do I know that loves me?

The list is long, but this is something that I have struggled with (still do). This one has affected my happiness the most – still does some days. Too often, I base my happiness on the HOW others love me. I have been striving for acknowledgement and recognition of their love. I have held lofty expectations of the HOW they should love me – they should love me the way I love them! And then when they don’t, I’ve been disappointed and unhappy. I am learning though that they love me in their own way – and they love me very much and for who I am! I am learning to just be happy in the recognition that I am indeed loved so very much.

3. What progress have I made?

Wow, if you could have seen me even just 5 years ago…some of you have, I know. When I look back and see pictures of the woman I used to be, I recall the huge sadness and hurt that followed me. It was a choice I made each day. Now, I choose differently and most days, I have the guts to see just how truly blessed and happy I am. You’ve come a long way, baby! 🙂

4. What contribution do I bring? 

Though sometimes I struggle with my need for acknowledgement, most days, I know that I am helping people with my words that I write and ideas that I share. I help people by being the listener who I love to be. My children and husband are happier and content because I am contributing to it and inspiring them to be happy in themselves. I believe that I am someone who is making the world a better place as I let my light shine (and it gives others permission to do so as well).

5. What pursuits bring me the most joy?

Finally, I am no longer afraid and rarely feel guilty for pursuing my own desires. I allow myself the comfort and support that I know I need. I follow my heart daily by focusing on creating a life that brings me joy. I do not expect the world to make me happy – that’s my job. I pursue that pretty much every day!

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6. Who can I help? 

I long…no, I crave…helping thousands of women. Especially working women. I have known so many in the past who long for a peaceful life and a life free of guilt. Women who put everyone else’s needs in front of their own and struggle to find even the smallest sliver of light in themselves. So many who long to be free of the unrealistic expectations of today’s society. Who just want to be great at everything that they do but feel like they fail at everything instead. I know these women well. I have been her. She is so much more that what she sees of herself right now. That’s who I want to help. I pray that I will reach her in some small way with my words of encouragement.

7. What choices do I have? 

My biggest one is that I get to choose how I want to live my day. I choose to be happy. Right now. in this very moment.

What are your answers to these questions? We’d love to hear them here in the comments (or shoot us an email if you’re shy 🙂  )

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Life is Short

Life is Short

I was so inspired by May’s notes in my Desire Map Journal from Danielle Laporte. I had to make a recording so that I can listen to it whenever I need to. Life is short. Let’s do it today!

My Reminders to Me:

  • notice how long her legs are compared to mine as my teen snuggles beside me on the couch
  • enjoy his silliness and funny sounds he makes when he’s being a goof – not many get to see that side of him
  • be grateful for his pocket dial because it’s another chance to say “I love you” today
  • put on perfume in secret spots for him to find later
  • grab a latte on the way to work just because I love them so much
  • have zucchini spaghetti again tonight because it’s sooooo good!
  • do yoga with my sweetheart, candles and incense quieting our minds from the day
  • leave my phone in the kitchen while I snuggle on my bed to read tonight
  • sleep without a worry or care, grateful for another day

 

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UN-Motivated

You know what I’ve noticed this school break? I haven’t got very many of my “projects” done that I planned. At first, I was annoyed with myself, thinking that it’s because I’ve been feeling UN-motivated…and that I’ve been “lazy”.

However, what I’ve realized today is that I’ve really enjoyed this time WITHOUT getting those things done. Instead, I’ve spent a lot of time with my kids and with friends. I’ve been doing little things around the house that I thought were project ‘avoidance’ tasks but now I’ve realized were little things that were bugging me (eg. the recycling yesterday). I’ve slept more too.

Most of all, I’ve been spending time just in my head. Not really thinking about anything, just in the quiet space, turned off and tuned in. Not really consciously meditating, but turned off from all the projects and books and ideas and to-do’s and songs that are normally flying around in my head. They just haven’t been there. It was worrying me. What if I was missing out? What if those things don’t get done? It’s hard to just let them sit there without the accompanying guilt filling me up. I am letting it go, how could I face myself knowing that I wasn’t getting stuff done?

Maybe it’s my hubby’s zen vibes he’s sending me from Costa Rica. We’ve been emailing back and forth and I can already feel how changed he is. Maybe it’s the spring trying to peek out from the long cold winter. Maybe it’s just me, feeling a little burned out; but it doesn’t feel like my usual burn out I’ve felt before.

Maybe this UN-motivation isn’t anything sinister. Maybe it’s just me making space for the changes that are coming. Changes that I don’t even know about. Maybe it’s just time to embrace whatever happens WHENEVER it happens. Life is just too bloody short to fret about what I’m supposed to do next; even if those are things I love to do. Maybe it’s a little reminder to just be here in this moment whether the moment is filled with something or not. It’s just a moment. And it’s mine to do with whatever I will or even won’t do. I choose right now, today, this way. And that’s totally OK, no matter what it looks like.

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9 Hours

What would you do with 9 hours in a week? Don’t think you have 9 hours? Let’s take a little look at some time wasting facts, Jack…

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1. Facebook…

We all do it. You know for a fact that you could be doing something else besides checking Facebook 10 times in the last hour.

“It’s only for a minute!” You say?

  • 1 X 10 = 10 min. per hour
  • 10 min/hour X 8 hr = 80 min in 1 work day…
  • 80 min X 5 days is 400 min (6 hours) in 1 work week!! Yep, SIX

For the sake of argument, let’s cut that in half…So…that’s 3 extra hours so far in a week. (and you know it’s actually more than that…)

2. TV Time…

And what about TV time? How much time do you REALLY spend in front of the TV? Let’s figure it out a little here:

The average person spends about 2.8 hours per day watching TV. What about you? Let’s again say that you only watch 1 hour in 3 days of stuff you really don’t “need” to watch. That’s giving you 3 more hours (of the about 20 hours per week you actually watch.)

3. Looking for Things…

How many times do you have to search for something in a day?

  • A form you need to fill out – 5 minutes?
  • Your keys – 2 minutes?
  • Her other shoe that isn’t where it’s supposed to be – 6 minutes?
  • The lunch kit from yesterday that needs filling for today – 3 minutes?
  • What you’re going to wear – 5 minutes? (at least)
  • More toothpaste – 15 minutes? (more if the store is farther away)

5 + 2 + 6 + 3 + 5 + 15 = 36 minutes per day looking for something. 252 minutes per week is 4.2 hours. Far fetched? Time yourself the next time you have to search for your keys…Again, let’s cut that in half for argument sake: 2 more hours you could use in a week! Get organized!

4. Email You Don’t Really Read…

How long does it take you to read your email? To delete them? Time yourself. Let’s say you spend about 5 minutes every hour during the work day dealing with email that are junk or unimportant:

  • 5 minutes per hour X 8 hr day = 40 min in 1 work day…
  • 40 min X 5 days is 200 min (3 hours) in 1 work week. 

That’s 3 more hours in your week that you could use if you setup some systems to deal with your email. You know that you likely spend much more time than that.

So, with just those four time wasters: Facebook (3 Hours) + TV TIme (3 Hours) + Looking for Things (2 Hours) + Junk Email (3 Hours) = 11 Hours total in a week! I only mentioned finding 9 hours, so let’s even take 2 hours off of my already generous actual hours you spend wasting time to make it 9!

What if you spent 9 hours of your wasted time in a week doing some of those tasks on your list? What do you think you could get done in a week? In a month? A year? It really adds up, right!? At 9 hours a week, you could do a lot of those things that you always wanted to do!!

I’m not saying that these things aren’t fun. But how much do you really want to do something else? What are you really missing out on? How much better would your life be if you stopped doing some of these things even for just ½ the time you normally spend on them? Where would you be then?

It’s time for you to stop settling for less than what you deserve. You are better than that and you know it! Stop wasting YOUR time.

I’m creating a course for setting goals and making shizzle happen. It’s about frickin’ TIME that you live the life you deserve. Be the first to join the course by registering here: Goals Goddess eCourse and let’s conquer those time wasters together.

Goals Goddess eCourse – starting in April – Register NOW to be the first to know.

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peaceful

Meditate – Eyes Open

I’ve been exploring a different way to meditate and I am in love!

Sometimes, I find it hard to sit with my eyes closed and observe my thoughts. I’m often tempted to open them to make sure no one is there. I guess I’m still working on that trust thing.

However, with this new meditation program I’m doing, it “fits” better with me. So far, it’s less about the “ooommm’s” and more about intention in the moment. It’s more about FOCUS – with my eyes open. Focus isn’t easy, but so far, doing it this way works way better. This example in the picture is focusing on the word on the page. Listening and being absorbed in each line as I create it. Being aware of the word coming to life as my pen moves across the page. Focusing on something like that, I am less distracted. I am actually focused!

I wanted to share this really wonderful idea with you today. If you struggle with taking the time for you; with taking the time with “meditation” (or have any ‘fears’ around doing something like that); I highly recommend Annika’s program. It’s something different and a comfort for me in the wee hours of the morning to help me focus my day. Plus, she has a beautiful voice to soothe your soul 🙂 Visit Eyes Open from Annika Martins to sign up!

Do you have any recommendations for meditation? What kinds of “tools” do you use? I’m always open to trying new things! Let us know in the comments!

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minnie mug

Happiness Is…

Recently, it was International Happiness Day. A day to celebrate what makes us happy. The point of the day, in my opinion, is to notice the little things and…most of all…

So many of us rush around getting things done, being stressed out, keeping up with everyone else. We have more things, but we are less happy. We are sick and tired, yet most of us have everything we’ve ever dreamed of. And then some.

I was looking at old home movies on the weekend and I noticed something. I wasn’t very happy. I noticed how happy my kids were with simple things like playing gymnastics on the couch cushions or sliding around the kitchen floor in their socks or just playing playdough. I noticed that I was always cleaning or constantly moving from one thing to the next and our house was full of STUFF. I was very overweight and dressed (if I was dressed at all) in clothes that did not flatter me. At one point, I heard my hubby sweetly ask me what he could do to help and I told him he didn’t have to – that I would do it all.

It was an eye-opening glimpse into how far I’ve come. This was perfect timing for me because I still have days – like Friday last week – where I think that I’m not good enough. Days where I struggle accepting who I am. My sweetheart and I talked late into the night trying to help me accept my truth. And then, I woke up to the thought, “Oh! I need to backup those home movies before that computer crashes”. I hadn’t thought about them in months – maybe even a year. Yet, suddenly, I thought of them early on Saturday morning. Still shaky in my belief about my own worth. And then I saw her on the video. The old me. The one who struggled to find happiness in those simple moments caught on video because I was too busy running around, “catching up” on all my to-do’s. Too busy to eat properly. Too busy to shower. Too busy to wear clothes that I love. Too busy to take care of me.

I’m still not sure of what the exact moment was when I decided that this had to stop. Maybe it was that I was tired of it all. It certainly wasn’t overnight. It has been one step after another. Each day something new. Each day a chance to try again. And now I hardly recognize her.

Now, I don’t mind so much being in front of the camera. Now, I’m mostly smiling. Now, I slow down and notice the little things. Now, I choose Happiness:

  • I love that our espresso machine has a mug warmer on top
  • I have a really cool space where I can sit and create, play or do whatever makes me happy
  • Yoga with my sweetheart to close the day
  • Snuggled on the coach, squeezing in beside lanky teenagers watching a movie
  • Quick visits with my grown up baby boy wherever I can catch him
  • Resting my head on my daughter’s shoulder as she towers over me for a quick “Mama” hug
  • That goofy little guy who’s almost as tall as me and has his Dad’s sense of humor that always makes me laugh
  • A cup of tea and amazing conversations with kindred spirits who I call friends
  • Catching a glimpse of geese and hearing their call on yet another winter day that gives me hope for spring

It’s the little things that truly make me happy. What makes you happy? Share in the comments.

Do you need help and inspiration to notice those little things? The Divine Goddess Circle can help. It’s a community for working women who are seeking support and actions to become the Goddess they are! Join us: www.divinegoddesscircle.com

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self-care thursday

Self-care Sunday

Thursday evenings are often quiet evenings for me. My family is usually busy with other things and it’s nearing the end of the week, so things are settling down in general. The picture above was from my last Thursday evening.

I’m a big proponent of practicing self-care. I used to think that doing things for myself was “being lazy” or “selfish”. However, I noticed that the more I did NOT do for me, the more I was filled with resentment and anger and frustration. I thought I was being a good mother but would find myself yelling at my kids ALL the time – in a very unhealthy way. I would be secretly angry with my husband, especially when he was doing things he enjoyed doing for himself. This would build up inside until it would come exploding out one day out of the blue and the poor guy wouldn’t know what had hit him! I didn’t feel like I had time for making time for me. Who would take over when I had some quiet time? Wasn’t time for me selfish? I still ask myself those questions sometimes.

I’ve discovered that when I’ve just been going and going and going; rarely taking the time to re-charge, I am exhausted and feel like I can’t get anything accomplished. Headaches haunt me and I just don’t feel like myself. It’s then that I remember how much practicing self-care helps me. Better still, I now practice it more often so that I don’t get to that stage. I’m sure to schedule in time for me so that I’m able to be a better Mom, a better wife and a better person.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Sometimes, it’s curling up under my warm, soft blanket from my best friend that’s all mine and reading a book. It could be playing a game on the computer, quilting, writing or just sleeping a little bit longer than everyone else. My family supports me in this because they know how much it helps me. It’s a habit I want to make sure that they learn (especially my daughter) by seeing me do it.

I created a little download for you if you’re searching for ideas for practicing self-care. Click here to grab your copy (and share it with your friends!)

What are some of your ideas for self-care? What are some of the benefits you see when you do something for you? Leave us a note in the comments!

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