On Saying No

I have this problem where I need to say yes to everything. Any volunteer list that gets sent around has my name on it somewhere. “Can you babysit?” Yes. “Ride to the airport, please?” Yes. “Drive my grandma’s body across the U.S.?” Sure. Why not?

90% of the time, I’m totally happy to help.

BUT.

I’ve learned something that will require the next 75 years to perfect. And it’s made a huge difference in my happiness (for the better).

It’s this:

Say no without making an excuse.

Omg that is so easy. Sorta. Kinda. Not really.

Last month was the first time I really had to hold my ground. We had gotten home from work and almost immediately put on pajamas. We ate dinner in front of the TV and left our dishes on the floor while we pulled a blanket over us and turned on The Blacklist. A half hour into an episode, Brad’s phone buzzed. We’d been invited to games with friends. Not too long after, my phone buzzed. Same invite. Same friends. Brad texted back that we’d head over soon. I stayed on the couch and said, “nah, I want to stay home.” He started cleaning up the dishes and said, “are you sure? We haven’t been over there in a while. I don’t want them to feel like we don’t like them.” I held steady. “I’m tired. Can we just stay home and cuddle?” “I already said we’d join…” The roles totally reversed from normal, I knew the disappointment he felt in backing out. But I needed to practice saying no and not having a reason. So we stayed home free from excuses and obligations. It felt good. I felt really good. Empowerment and control over my life. Ah, what a feeling!

Saying no without an excuse will take time, I realize.. It’s uncomfortable. It goes against everything I’ve been taught.

What’s hardest for me is finding the healthy balance between things I have to do, like going to the gynecologist, and things I don’t have to do, like doing a 7am service project two hours from home. Service projects have always felt like a “have to do.” Socializing even feels like a “have to do” sometimes. But service projects and socializing are both things I have to want to do, or they’re be a huge withdrawal for me. If it’s dark out and my bra is off, going out with friends is probably not something I want to do.

Here are some questions I ask myself:

  1. Can I wear what I’m currently wearing?
  2. Would I rather read, paint, sleep, or stare at a wall?
  3. Does it require waking up earlier or staying up later than I want?
  4. Will any financial cost be reimbursed?
  5. Are they friends?
  6. Does our relationship consist mostly of my doing favors for them?
  7. Will they provide free food?
  8. Will the result be worth the effort?
  9. Will it improve my mood/well-being?
  10. Do I want to?

Here’s to more baby steps to becoming more assertive.

 

Daily Maintenance Lists

Since college (and maybe earlier?) I’ve dealt with seasonal depression… the winter blues, some say. This year I finally decided to get some help for it. I’ve been going to group therapy for the last two months, and I’ve learned some incredible things.

I’ll attempt to share them with you one at a time.

This post is about building daily maintenance lists. When we’re not feeling our best, we can often trace it back to something on this list that we’ve let slide. The first thing to go for me is the correct amount of sleep. 7-9 hours is recommended. When I’m feeling my gloomiest, I’ll get 11-12 hours of sleep. Go to bed early, wake up early, take a nap. Hibernation, I suppose. Exercise slips away around the same time.

We make these lists so we can check up on ourselves. When I start to feel low and unmotivated, I need to look at the list and remind myself that if I do just these things in a day, then I’ve accomplished something great.

Here’s my list…

Things I know I need to do for myself EVERYDAY to make sure I stay well:

  • Shower, brush teeth, wash face
  • Eat healthy foods and drink water
  • Get dressed
  • Leave the house and the apartment complex
  • Exercise, even if it’s just a walk or stretching
  • Quiet time
  • Tidy house
  • 7-9 hours

Things I need to do WEEKLY to make sure I stay well:

  • Grocery shop
  • Laundry and house chores
  • Wash hair
  • Shave legs
  • Talk to parents, family
  • Socialize
  • Go out to eat
  • Cook a meal
  • Be creative (art, writing, etc)
  • Meditate
  • Read

Things I need to do MONTHLY to make sure I stay well:

  • Adventure and explore (leave Redwood City)
  • Date night
  • Photo shoot
  • Visit Brad for lunch
  • Spend time with a new friends
  • Try a new restaurant
  • Go over budget
  • Set goals, do personal check ups
  • Hot tub

Things I need to do PERIODICALLY to make sure I stay well:

  • Travel
  • Have a house guest
  • Go to the beach
  • Shop
  • Bake
  • Journal

Special little things I can do for myself when I need to feel better:

  • Bath with candles and oils
  • Alone time hike
  • Nap
  • See a movie
  • Go out for a dessert
  • Learn something on Youtube

Share your lists! Did I miss something vital?

NoGoWriMo

Well, that lasted long.

NaNoWriMo 2016 is NoGoWriMo.

My motivation this month is like 3/10. It didn’t help that I had no story. I’m a pantster (fly by the seat of my pants) when it comes to Nano, but I’ve always had a basic story in my head. Some of the time, I have an outline. This year I went in with nothing. Literally not even an idea. I put pen to paper and scribbled for two hours about whatever came to my head. It ended up being an intro to some sort of post-apocalyptic something or other. Or a spy novel? Possibly a love story. Who knows what there is there? I will probably never know.

It isn’t like I can’t do it. I could still catch up if I wanted to. It would mean writing 2208 words per day, which is only 600 more than the regular amount. That’s an extra 15-30 minutes of writing, depending out how focused I am. But jump back to my motivation level of the month. 3/10. And the lack of story. And the general lack of care. Hello, winter and your general lack of care.

Here’s a snippet from my story. Unedited, full of typos, judgement-free.

My head slammed into the ground with a deafening, literally deafening, crunch. That irony taste of blood filled my mouth. I blinked my eyes open, but still there was only blackness. A ringing sound grew in my ears and slowly the sound of wind and rustling leaves grew in my ears. I sat up and felt around for my glasses. “Dennis, Dennis!” I shouted, knowing what would happen in return.

Another slam, softer, this time. But when I sat up, I still coughed up blood. I spat on the ground next to me, attempting to stand as I went. Excruciating pain shot from my left heel to my hip. I reached to my foot. What was normally soft skin and bone was now a firm sac of blood and bone shards. My body wouldn’t allow myself to touch it anymore. I withdrew and took a step. Right, ow, right, ow. I tiptoed five or six paces, then fell to the ground, grasping at my foot the best I could. What had happened? My memory was so blurry. The last I could fully remember was running through the door, looking behind me to make sure I wasn’t being followed. They were two steps ahead of me the whole time. I remember at one point asking to go to the bathroom and they handed me a bottle. Female genitalia and bottles don’t go together, not for urinating, at least.

I remembered stealing a syringe from the cart when a nurse came to make sure I was still alive. I was, but just barely, and that’s how they wanted me.

The syringe was still in my pocket, the torn front pocket of my hoodie. Unknown contents. It probably had a label at one point, but that “hospital” didn’t seem too keen on the rules of sanitation. I don’t remember being pricked with anything, and I’d rather it stay that way.

It had been three days since I escaped, but I still hadn’t found food or water or any sign of life besides this road. This long winding, empty road. The shattered heel wasn’t much help when it came to walking. So I crawled and walked when I could stand it. Who knows? Maybe the syringe was morphine. Maybe I could inject myself and make it miles and miles before it wore off. Or maybe it was more of the sleeping drought they gave me when I ran from the safety of my childhood home.

A chill breeze rustled the trees, and somewhere in the distance, an owl called for its mate.

I scooted to the edge of the road and felt my way to a tree. I leaned against it and closed my eyes. Dennis wasn’t around. I know it. The spirits knew it. He hasn’t been around for too many years.”

 Stick around for more bits. Maybe.

Hopefully

Let’s pretend for just a sec that I have like six thousand people reading my blog daily. (Hint: I don’t.) But I could pretend that people know me or something. Or at least they want to know me. (They probably don’t.)

Anyways, I would tell them that I have an office job that is sometimes super busy and most of the time really slow. Like, sit in the office for 8 hours with nothing to do slow. So I try to find things to fill my time. Most often laziness takes over, and I just end up on gchat with my two besties or link hopping through the never-ending time wasting websites. Here’s what I did to keep up the productivity:

Today I wrote eight ideas of time fillers on sticky notes and stuck them on my monitor.

  • Make a list. Honestly though, lists are fun. To-dos, goals, travel wishes, friends to call, things to buy. Then maybe once the list is done, I can start crossing things off.
  • Draw. I’m not a doodler, but it isn’t too late to learn.
  • Read a random science article. Brad always spouts out these random science facts. My turn.
  • Walk up and down the stairs. Okay. So sort of boring, but it’ll boost my step count and be outside a bit longer.
  • Write a blog post. Duh.
  • Learn something from YouTube. Today I watched this one. He’s a friend of ours, and it’s actually really interesting. Ideally, I’ll watch the video and actually do the things they’re teaching. Not today. Today I wrote this post instead.
  • Call an old friend. I have a couple of people I call while I’m on walks. (Thanks, Mom.) Maybe I’ll use my list from the first suggestion and actually call them.
  • Make something for Etsy. Brad and I are trying to open an Etsy shop this year with his design things and my random things.

What are your random time filler things?

It’s a New Year

Generic title followed by a generic post about some generic resolutions for 2016.

What more can you ask for?

From me? Not too much. I’m a college grad working at a desk job that basically anybody could do. I surf Facebook far too much and read all the Buzzfeed articles about cats and Harry Potter and confessions of twenty somethings.

I am a twenty something. I have had a fantastic life with everything I have ever needed handed to me. Needed, though, not wanted. I’ve worked for something things, and I’ve asked for others. I’m privileged. I have nothing to complain about.

I am happy. Most of the time. Some of the time I’m just anxious. For no reason, I worry about wasting my life. Why am I not out more? Why am I not using my office time wisely?

I made some goals. They are basically the same goals that everyone else makes.

-adventure more

-save money

-exercise more

-do happy things

-learn a headstand

-learn the splits

Here’s the first key to goals: split them into categories of Habits and To-Dos. A habit is something like flossing every day. You worry about it every. single. day. A To-Do is something you work towards and accomplish or something you do once. For example: learn a headstand. To-Dos are generally accomplished by creating habits. If my To-Do is to read a book every month, I have to get into the habit of reading every day. If my To-Do is to go to Europe, my habit is to save money. If my To-Do is to do a headstand, I need to practice every day until I can do it.

Habits:

Yoga, Read, Write, 10000 steps, Remember names, Save money, Take more pictures, Pray.

To-Dos:

Save X amount by 2017, Run a half, Run a Spartan, Headstand, Splits, Leave country twice, Read 20 books.

See how the Habits build up to the To-Dos? Habits are the short term goals that build up to the long term. It makes them manageable.

Even manageable goals are useless without the second key to goals: check ups.

The number one reason most New Year’s Resolution are forgotten by January 15th is because people forget about their goals. They slip back into last year’s habits. It’s okay. I do it too. Make that list and put it where you see it every day. Think about them. Focus on one goal this week and a different one next week. Maybe this will help. Maybe it won’t. I made a spreadsheet where I can check in with myself every other week.

I’ve learned through my yoga practices to not compare myself with anyone else, not even myself. I am who I am today at this very moment. Yesterday I was different and tomorrow I will be new again. I have a new chance every day to become who I want to be. Make the decision to be the best you that you possibly can be.

Good luck.

Oh, and after all this rambling, I want to write more this year. And the way to do that is to be held accountable. Here I am, writing more. Crappy or not, here it comes.

Mutterings, the first

In commemoration of the changing of my blog title, I shall redesign my layout using the already designed layouts that my Blogger.com friends have supplied. Thank you, thank you.

Also, I shall begin a segment called “Mutterings” that describe to the rest of the world how
my mind spends each day. From morning till eve, you shall read my every thought…

Beginning now.

Candy.
Book.
Ouch, my leg hurts.
That’s better.
What’s for dinner?
Probably more candy.
I guess water will suffice.
Husband! Where are you? Hiding, again? He does that from time to time. Bike Race under the bed. Booger eating on the patio in the snow. Come on. COME ON. (He doesn’t actually do that.) (Shout out so he doesn’t get mad. Oops.) (Can’t offend the husband.) (Love him dearly.)

Okay. This is already getting boring for me. I can only imagine how dull you are now. I mean how bored you are.

I’ve been doing some thinking about meditating. Meditating about meditating, if you will. And I tried it once. In the bathtub. The goal is to think about one thing, like breathing, or to picture a scene, like the ocean. Focus simply on that one thing. How long can you keep it up? I lasted probably two seconds before I thought about how my knees were getting breezy and what to make for dinner (always food) and what the weather’s like and where’s my book and grad school and I want to write about something and oh yeah, breathing. Shoot. Seriously, though. Try it. Find a quiet place and meditate. Think about not thinking about anything. Let me know how you do.