I know the last time I was here, I said I was excited to start monthly challenges, starting with cutting back on sugar. Unfortunately, even though I was trying to plan my monthly challenges around the potential of losing Zoey, I didn’t think it would happen so fast. Six days into my cutting back on sugar plan, Zoey took a dramatic turn for the worst and was gone within 24 hours of her symptoms becoming really bad. My world felt like it cracked down the middle and the idea of cutting back on sugar for a monthly challenge suddenly felt so insignificant.
Fast forward a week – I am still trying to process her loss. It’s amazing how many times you look towards a dog bed or her favourite sunny spot on the couch without realizing. Now every time I look out of instinct, I start crying at her empty spot. Sam, our four year old beagle, is also moping around the house. She avoids Zoey’s favourite spots in the sun and tries to make herself into the smallest ball possible on the bed they used to share.
I don’t know if I will ever stop missing her or ever stop crying, but I know that I need to start picking myself back up. If not for myself, at least for my boys. So I am revising my monthly challenges a bit. Given my anxiety, and the likelihood that I have thanatophobia with a panic disorder (again, self-diagnosed), I have decided that the rest of this year will be focused on habits that will help me move towards a happier internal self. I have decided that instead of focusing on hating foods because of my weight or hating exercise because of the time it takes, not to mention already being exhausted at the end of the day without trying to work up a sweat, I need to focus on healing and loving myself and reconnecting with a more joyous self. Although, I won’t lie to you, I am hoping that weight loss will become a natural part of this entire process…
Given that life is just too damn short and one never knows when you are going to get a crappy hand dealt, I am going to focus my monthly challenges on habits and practices that will help me improve my mindset, improve my mental and emotional wellness, and help me build up some resilience for when things go sour. I think it will look something like:
1. Learn to sleep better – with my frequent panic attacks and anxiety/mom brain, sleep is something I always strive to get enough of, but then my mind always has another plan. I am always waking up in the middle of the night either with a panic attack or my brain listing all the things that I need to remember to do the next day. Not to mention the knocking I keep hearing at 3am at least once a month – I wish I could figure out who’s doing that. I am going to read through all the research out there and come up with some ideas for habits I can try to improve my quality of sleep, as well as some ideas for helping me fall back to sleep after waking up to the panic attacks or anxiety brain.
2. Eat cleaner during the week – I always find that my energy improves and I just feel better when I eat more greens and plant protein. Unfortunately, convenience tends to win when you are a mom of three boys that is also working full time at a corporate job with a husband also working hard with frequent overtime. I am going to research and try some new clean eating meals, hopefully ones that are quick and easy to make and that my kids will actually eat, so that I can try to improve my energy. This doesn’t mean that I am going to stop drinking coffee or eating sugar and processed foods. I am just going to try and eat more greens, more often in the hopes that they will fill me up for parts of the day, thus my eating less junk.
3. Reconnect with my spiritual side – I used to always be a spiritual type. I was never religious, likely because of bad experiences with churches when I was young, but I still felt a connection to something larger than myself. I have always been told that I have a natural skill in psychic abilities, but I have always tried to suppress them (thanks to my haunted house as a child, I’m sure). However, I do find that when I meditate often, do yoga, and use my Tarot cards or runes, something in my head shifts. I become a calmer person and more joyous. So I need to find a way to bring those old habits into my life again.
4. Move more – I know, I know. All the experts always say that to feel happier and more energetic, you need to exercise. I don’t know why I have such an aversion to exercise. I always loved it growing up. I was a competitive speed swimmer all throughout my teens and then I became a runner while I lived in Australia, which followed me to Northern Ireland and, eventually, back to Canada. I also became in love with spin classes online. However, since my third baby boy came into the world, I have been finding it harder and harder to stay motivated with exercise! Now, however, I am going to change that. I am going to find ways to bring it back into my daily habits, which I know will help with all the above habits I hope to improve on as well.
5. Be more creative – Of course, to stick with my overall yearly goal of spending more quality time with family, improving my health, and being creative, I have to put on this monthly challenge list that I am going to be more creative. I have started drawing more again, but I have been avoiding my work-in-progress (book) like the plague. I don’t know if it was the stress of losing Zoey, but something about working on my book rewrites/edits, as well as putting together a query and synopsis, I just freeze every time I try to open it up. So I will still have the monthly challenge to do something creative every day, preferably write every day until this book can be out of my hands.
6. Gratitude – I don’t know what it is about a gratitude journal, but I always struggle with them. I have always found the practice difficult to follow through with every single day, even though I have noticed that it can help me shift my perspective to one that is more positive. I am going to look into other practices and do some research on ways to incorporate a daily gratitude practice without it being a gratitude journal, if that is possible. I am not sure what I will find, but we will see how it turns out.
As always, I am sitting here writing out these things thinking about how I can incorporate them all instantly. But, as I mentioned the last time around, I know that is not how you get things to stick. So I am going to start out with just focusing on getting back into yoga. I have joined Daily Burn again, something that I used to enjoy exercising to, and I am going to start their 14 day “yoga retreat” to get me back into working towards a daily practice. After each yoga session, I plan to meditate and write in a journal. I am hoping that doing these three practices together in the evening after the kids go to bed will be part of the “sleeping better” goal. At the very least, I won’t be sitting up watching The Haunting of Hill House or Supernatural or something along those lines on TV during that time. That has to be a move in the right direction to sleeping better, since I know one common thing they always say is you need to turn off screens an hour before bed.
Given we are almost halfway through the year, I am hopeful that this will mark a good shift in finishing the year off strong, so that I can gain some momentum in my goals. If you have any suggestions or comments on what you are working on or how you ensure you have a better quality of sleep, I’d love to hear them!
One thought on “Trying again …”
I have an old cocker spaniel too, and can relate to your feelings, because I dread the time when it’s my turn to face what you’ve faced. You have a great list there, and I’m wishing you all the best with following up on them!
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