Where has November gone?

(Warning: Unfocused, word-dump blog post ahead.)

Well, as you can tell by my lack of NaNoWriMo updates, I clearly didn’t get very far. I hate making excuses for things, but my goal of participating in NaNo was not really met. I mean,  I did do some writing. Just not very much. Between starting a new job, the holidays, and the never-ending drama that is being back home with family… let’s just say November was not my month to sit and be a productive writer.

As I mentioned in my last post, I started a new job. I work for an insurance company now. I know, a HUGE change from working for Disney, but it is challenging and the atmosphere and people are great. The hours are perfect and allow me to have my evenings, weekends, and holidays which is awesome because I’m preparing for an upcoming audition! I’m finally getting back into performing after… almost two years. Yikes! But, yay!

I’ve been spending almost all of my free time with family and friends, which has been a complete blessing. I’ve missed out on the last seven or eight Thanksgivings so it was great to see family I haven’t seen in ages. (Even if I did have bronchitis during the whole week.)

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Yesterday, I started and finished 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman which is honestly not something I’d ever thought I’d be interested in reading. I’m what you call a hardcore skeptic, but I actually started and finished it in one sitting. The focus of the book is on love for married couples (and it bugs me how it only focuses on male-female relationships but, that’s a whole other ball of wax.) Now, I’m clearly not married, but the book also discusses how this type of love resonates with children, family, and friends. I am always losing touch with friends and loved ones, going back to my introverted roots because it is where I am most comfortable. However, I hate how that can sometimes come across as a desire to lose or separate people from my life. So, I thought it would be a good read to see how I can become more aware of what others need to feel loved/fulfilled and maybe it will help me in that regard. I want to be close to people, but I fail at that quite often and I think this book is maybe a stepping stone to get to where I want to be and how I want to maintain my relationships.

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Tonight, while relaxing in the tub I started Mindfulness for Everyday Living by Christopher Titmuss. I’ve mentioned my interest and practice of Mindfulness in the past, and though I’m nowhere near an expert on the subject, I do utilize my version of it on a consisten basis. One of my main problems is that my mind races when I lie in bed. Even if I am super exhausted and feel like I’m dying for sleep, my brain just doesn’ shut off. Well, after watching a few videos on Mindfulness meditation and breathing, I’ve become pretty good at not letting myself get lost in the endlessness of thought, worry, and anxiety. On most nights, I’m able to calm my mind and my anxiety to a level where I am able to sleep. That has made a world of difference for me. Like I said, I just started it and hopefully it will prove fruitful as I continue reading it.

December begins this week. I can’t believe it. That means it’s down to the grind at work, so I expect to have some tired evenings ahead. But, I’m trying to get back into a good balance between work and life, so hopefully that will keep me sane this month. I also have lots of Christmas shopping I would like to get done so that will also keep me busy, but I love gift-giving so I’m excited for that.

I’m not really sure where this blog post has gone. It’s become more of a diary entry/book review. I originally intended it to be a bit more focused, but I guess this is where my mind wanted to go tonight. Hope you don’t mind.

As always, thanks for reading. Have a Happy December!

Until next time! ❤

 

Final NaNo Word count: 3,450

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My De-Stressing Nighttime Self-Care Routine

Between job hunting and working way too hard during my Fall internship, my mind and body have been just completely exhausted. Last week, I came home from a long day and not only did I hurt all over, I had a pinched nerve, my stress level was through the roof, and I just needed to “get away” for a little while.

Thankfully, I had everything I needed to relax right in my reach. So, I’d like to present to you, my stress relieving nighttime self-care routine.

First: Run a warm bath.

Recently, at our town’s Fall Festival, I purchased a large lemongrass bath bomb made by a local artisan and boy-oh-boy did it smell amazing.

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As you can see, it’s massive. I broke it in half, but could have easily used a quarter of it and been fine. The scent was delightfully strong, but not overpowering or bothersome. Also, it was fun to watch the bathtub fill up because the bath bomb made it look like lemonade!

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Because my muscles were so sore, I ran the bath much warmer than I normally do and let me tell you, as soon as I lay down in that tub… it was pure bliss. The bath bomb left my skin feeling moisturized, almost as if I’d put an oil in the tub, and that was a pleasant surprise. But, I skipped ahead.

Second: While the tub is running, light a candle.

Seeing as I already had such a strong scent with the bath bomb, I would not have wanted to overdo it with something else strongly scented. So, if I were you, I would opt for a lightly-scented option or even an unscented couple of tealights just for the warm glow. (I didn’t have any unscented candles on hand, but I did have an oil-warmer that emits light so I just turned that on and used the glow from that, sans oil.)

Third: Turn off your technology and turn on some relaxing music.

I use my phone as my source of music, so I put my phone in airplane mode, meaning no one could contact me and I wouldn’t get any notifications. Then, I turned on a wonderful Pandora station I recently discovered: Solo Piano.

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(Click here to listen. I highly recommend it.) The music was so intensely calming and drowned out any background noise my family might’ve been making out in the living room. It was perfect. I just laid back, closed my eyes, and let the relaxation just flow over me. (I recommend putting your phone out of reach from the bathtub so you’re not tempted to grab it out of habit or wanting to look something up.)

Fourth: Breathe.

As I relaxed, I worked on some mindfuless breathing exercises I’ve learned as those help calm my tense muscles and my overcrowded mind. I’ll probably do a post on those at some point, but if you’re interested, I highly recommend looking up some breathing exercises on YouTube or Pinterest. Meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation are keywords to use.

That’s pretty much it. It’s simple as to not stress me out even more, and it’s a nice, quiet way to escape for awhile without ever leaving your own bathroom! For some next-level pampering, add a face mask or some deep conditioner to your hair while you soak. I love using a calming cucumber-based mask for my face when I soak in the tub. Oh! Maybe follow the bath with a nice, warm cup of chamomile tea! Mmm…

As a sufferer of moderate anxiety and depression, nights like these are incredibly important to my overall health and wellness. It’s not feasible every single night, but taking a half hour or so every now and again has truly helped to improve my mental state. If you’re ever feeling like things are just too much, I highly recommend doing one or more of the tasks mentioned above. Especially breathing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to remind myself to truly breathe. So much so, in fact, that this is my current phone background I found on Pinterest:

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Learning to deal with my anxiety has been something I’ve tried to work on lately and this routine is just one of the things I have found works for me.

What about you? Do you have a “treat yourself” kind of routine or things you like to do to relax? I’m always looking for ways to relax and improve my self-care, so I’d love some suggestions!

As always, thank you so much for reading.

Until next time! ❤

Am I being selfish?

Wow. I would like to thank everyone for the hugely positive response I got on my last post. As some of you may know, I started a Facebook page in which I could talk about things I’m doing professionally. I am still job hunting, but I’m “interning” at a local community theatre and I am very happy for the doors it has opened for me. So, if you care to check out my FB page and follow me there, where most of my updates will me, here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/KacieThings/

 

So, last week I mentioned how I am working on being more self-aware and exploring the options of self care. It’s a long, hard journey but I am really learning a lot as I study on my own. My goal is to get a job, get insurance, and then be able to start going back to therapy where I felt like I was making great strides in managing my depression and anxiety. However, finding a job has been the absolute hardest part of my recent move back to Texas.

One of the things I’m doing during my downtime is learning how other people have dealt with their mental health and overall wellness. I follow many blogs and YouTubers who talk about things I’m interested in, but also explore some of the things I’m focusing on with my own mental health journey.

Last week, I stumbled upon a video that just jumped out at me. I literally said, “Yes!” to my phone screen as I was watching it because it resonated with me so strongly. The video was made by the wonderful Margaret Kammer, and I’ll share it below:

 

I have watched this… an almost embarrassing amount of times because I feel like each time, I connect with something different. I’ve always considered myself a people-pleaser, and I’ve always been pretty proud of it. I sacrifice I lot for friends and family, and I very often will ignore my gut to make sure I’m going out of my way to make someone else’s day easier. As Margaret says in the video, that’s not always a bad thing! It’s great to help others, and being a good human being means helping others when you can. However, like she says a little later, “Yes, you are a part of the world, but that doesn’t have to be your first priority. Your first priority can be yourself and your happiness.

This has *always* been such a hard concept for me to grasp. I always find myself admiring people who perform these grad gestures of complete selfishness, and when I am able to do something in that realm, I am always doing it under the assumption that it is what is right. There is no other choice than for me to say “yes” to something, even if I am exhausted, uncomfortable, or have already made other plans. I put myself last, always saying I’ll “catch up on sleep this weekend,” or “I really didn’t want to go hang out with friends anyways.” I need to find that balance.

I am completely terrified of being seen as a selfish person. I can count at least a dozen times during the day where I need to make a decision, but I have to make sure that I choose what I believe will be the least selfish option. However, I’m slowly starting to learn that it’s sometimes okay to make a selfish decision. If it’s not harming someone, and will lead to my improved health and happiness, then I need to remind myself it’s okay to make that decision.

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I’d have to say that my favorite thing she says comes at the end of the video: “We all deserve to walk through the world freely and confidently because you belong here just as much as everyone else does.” I think, deep down, this is where my problem is rooted. I assume that doing something for someone else at the expense of myself will make me a better person. It will shine a more favorable light on me and people will see and know that I am good. However, I don’t actually need that validation! For some reason, it’s almost as if I’m wired to assume that if people think I’m good, then I am good. That’s not the case! I know what makes me a good person and if I sometimes have to take a step back to rest and rejuvenate, then that’s perfectly acceptable.

It seems so cheesy, but as RuPaul states so eloquently: “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

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Now, can I get an “Amen?” Haha.

This is still a daily struggle for me. I have no idea if I’ll ever truly grasp the idea of being okay with saying, “No” to someone or going with my gut when it comes to making decisions that benefit myself, but I’m working on it. Slowly, but surely.

I encourage you to check out Margaret’s channel if you enjoyed her video. I’ve always really liked what she does and I bet you will too! If you would like to see me talk more about mental health and self-care, please let me know as I have amassed a pretty decent amount of resources in my time.

As always, thank you so much for stopping by.

Until next time! ❤