Monday, July 13, 2015

Slowing Down

Recently I realized that I had had a headache for pretty much four days straight that even Tylenol wasn't really helping. I was also hot all the time. One morning it dawned on me to have Jason (as a registered EMT) check my blood pressure.

It wasn't good.

I had a regularly scheduled checkup with my endocrinologist a few days later, so I embarked on a few days of minor lifestyle changes in an effort to lower my blood pressure. One thing I've identified as a cause of stress in my life is that I feel very out of control, so I took some steps to take back some control.

Honestly, in an ironic twist, since becoming a SAHM I feel like I'm doing what everyone else tells me to do, or wants me to do way more than when I worked outside the home. I feel as though I have very little control over my daily motions. So that clearly needs to change.

One thing is that I decided to take a break from FlyLady. Even though it was a program that I chose to start, the truth is that every day I'm doing what she tells me. And at this point even that seems like too much.

I need to do what I want to do.

I also reduced my social media presence, and am actually surprised at how much that has helped, considering I do feel that I get most of my support community from social media. But it's also a constant barrage of contact to an introvert that needs quiet. Heck, I think the truth is we all need quiet at times.

And I made an effort to get at least six hours of sleep a night, which is a struggle for me. I struggle with insomnia, and tend to find after the kids go to bed as my most productive hours, so often find myself up till all hours of the night (morning). 

So I spent a few days relaxing more, letting my house get back to the crappy house it was before, not going online as much, etc.

The result? At my appointment my BP was still high, but not high enough that my doctor was concerned. What he was concerned about was that my resting pulse rate was extremely high. Even though this would be an uncommon side effect to my meds, it is possible, so we are making some modifications to the dosages for a month to see if there's any change, and I'm continuing some of my temporary lifestyle changes. I do plan on starting FlyLady back up soon, but we'll have to see  how things progress.

The truth is I've been struggling with quite a bit of anxiety and depression over the past few months and I think it finally caught up with me. There has been quite a bit going on behind the scenes, both big & small, that has just been difficult to deal with all at once.

While my numbers may not show it (yet?), I feel better about myself since making these changes. I'm going to continue looking at my life and how I can regain control in certain areas. I think that sense of not having control, whether real or perceived, was a major trigger for me, for the anxiety, the depression, and the stress.

Also - my project is still in the works, but delayed a bit by this. Keep watching for more updates!

So that's my update today. I hope you all are doing well.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Monday, July 6, 2015

FlyLady Update (BabySteps 6 thru 10)

Day 6: dressed & ready, shiny sink, read emails, look at post-its, recognize negative voices, two minute hot spot
- getting pretty good and this dressed & ready thing
- shiny sink actually got done at a decent hour
- read the emails, check
- never did do the post-its
- worked to keep negative voices in check
- okay, right now I feel like my entire house is a hot-spot, so I decided that for now my hot spot clean up will be whatever tidying chore is next on my to-do list. Today it was the entryway (I always start with the entryway, since it's the first place anyone sees when they come in the home). Done.

Day 7: okay, I'm not gonna list everything out every day. Just assume I'm doing all the previous things unless I write something else, plus one new, 'kay?
Today started out pretty rough, and honestly I'm just proud of the fact that I got all of my baby steps done for the day at all. Other than the post-its which I'm not doing. Yet anyway. Jillian woke up at 1am vomiting. I was up with her from 1am-4am and am going on about 3 hours of sleep total.

The new step for the day was to lay out my clothes for tomorrow. Honestly, I need to start doing this for myself. I already lay out Jena's & Jillian's clothes either the night before or first thing in the morning. I lay out Jason's uniforms for him the night before when I remember. But me? I'm usually the one scrambling to get ready at the last minute. So today I took Jillian around with me room to room and we laid out everyone's outfits for tomorrow.
The truth is in my pre-kids days I did this for work or church on a regular basis. I'd pick out my clothes for the next day, iron them if needed, and hang them on my bedroom door, complete with what matching undies I was wearing with them. That seems so long ago... It will do me good to get back into this habit.

Day 8: Split it into a Morning & Evening Routine, and add a two-minute Hotspot to the evening
This was the first day I didn't get everything done. The first day I didn't get my sink shined. A few negative words crept in, like "failed" and "failure", but I worked to get those out of my head. Still, I was bummed.

next day: down for the count with an AWFUL stomach bug. Nothing got done. Nothing.

next day: tried to use what energy I had to do things like catch up on laundry, dishes, sterlizing bottles, etc. So much gets behind in just that one day, plus we were already behind on laundry because of the stomach bug Jillian had a few days earlier, creating an abundance of dirty clothes.

Day 8 (repeat): see above
I decided since this was my first day getting back in the groove, and my last day I didn't complete all the tasks anyway, instead of moving forward with Day 9 items, I'd go back and try Day 8 again. This actually led me to  a question: if these are babysteps to succeeding in the program, are we supposed to move forward if we haven't completed? or should we repeat that day until we do?
I know once you're in the regular FlyLady routine she promotes the idea that you are not behind, just jump in where you are, but since the point of these steps is to work up to that, should we move forward if we haven't achieved them yet? I'm honestly not sure. Either way, I repeated Day 8 today and this time I can say I got it done! Yay me!

Day 9: add a five minute declutter to the morning routine
Well, poop. Did not get the declutter done, did not get the second hot spot done. Ugh. Will repeat again tomorrow.

Day 9 (repeat): see above
Well, today I did get it done. And then some. I am getting a little concerned though. I mean, let's face it, the routine isn't even that much yet, we're not even a third of the way thru the baby steps, and I'm already starting to struggle getting things done. What is my problem?!?

Day 10: add two 15 minute segments - one gathering up all the trash you can find in your house and placing outside, and one relaxing and reading for yourself
Done! I have to admit, it feels pretty good!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

FlyLady Updates (BabySteps 2 thru 5)

Day 2: get dressed & ready and shine your sink.
- getting dressed & ready was easy on this particular day because it happened to fall on a day that Jena had Art Summer Camp, so I had to do it anyway. The challenge will be to do it on days when we aren't going anywhere and the temptation to stay in our pajamas will be strong.
- shining the sink wasn't too bad either. I have to say I was surprised at how much gunk was in there, after only one day! Maybe there's something to this after all!

Day 3: get dressed & ready, shine your sink, explore the FlyLady website (focus on the Launch Pad).
- get dressed & ready, again, easy because Jena had Art Summer Camp.
- shining my sink done as usual
- explore the FlyLady website, with focus on the Launch Pad. For me, this was intimidating. These baby steps almost seem too easy, but after looking at the Launch Pad it's hard for me to imagine being able to do everything on there with any sort of regularity. Heck, it's hard for me to imagine doing everything on there once. Okay... maybe once.  But I guess that's why I'm here. It sounds wonderful. It's easy to see how if I could do those things with regularity my home would be much better taken care of, so there is a tiny part of me that is excited at the prospect that it might possibly happen some day. But mostly it seems impossible at this point. Scary. Never going to happen impossible. I'm glad today was just to explore the website, and not to do it, LOL.

Day 4: get dressed & ready, shine your sink, read your FlyLady message, and put post-its up to help remember these steps, as a beginner to your "Control Journal"
- getting dressed & ready, again, easy peasy because of Jena's Summer Camp
- shining my sink did not get done today. I had just finished sterilizing bottles and was just getting ready to wash dishes when Jason came home from Water Rescue... at 11pm. We talked for a few minutes and went to bed, with a sink full of soaking dishes.
- read the FlyLady message on the website
- I did not put up post-its. Maybe I'll regret it, but so far I don't need help remember steps. If it becomes to much in a day or two I'll start.

I'm mulling the idea of the "Control Journal". I already do much of what is included, just not all in one journal. I have a planner, a chore checklist (for me & Jena), an address book, etc. There are other items I have considered completing someday and never got around to. This may be a good motivation to get them done. But I'm not sure I'm sold on having each item wrapped up together in one large journal. So I will probably eventually complete the Control Journal, but will probably modify it to suit my needs.

I will admit, today I'm struggling a bit with this process. Wondering if I'm doing these BabySteps right.  Mostly because it feels like I'm not doing anything. And even though they don't take up a ton of time, they do take time, time away from doing what household tasks I used to get done, done. Which means right now I'm in this phase where my house is getting worse instead of better. Except my kitchen sink. It looks great. Am I missing something? Did I read it wrong? Am I supposed to be doing the BabySteps plus? Or am I supposed to just trust this process, because BabySteps are supposed to be just that... tiny steps. I don't know. But today I'm frustrated.

Day 5: get dressed & ready, shine your sink, read your post-its, read the FlyLady message, special note about negativity
- with nowhere to go until later today, I kept forgetting to put my shoes on. Other than that, did okay.
- finished the dishes from last night late this morning, so got that sink shined early (for me)
- no post-its to read
- read the FlyLady message. Today's was about decorating.
- note about negativity was well-timed. Perhaps having doubts around day 4-5 is normal.

I admit, even before I checked my babystep for today, I looked ahead, first just a couple of days, then all the way to the end. I've been trying not to peek ahead, and really just take it one day at a time, but I needed reassurance that this really was going to pick up and I was going to get somewhere.

With no Summer Camp to take Jena to today, I have more time this morning to get other chores done. But, we are meeting my parents to lunch, then they are watching the girls while I go to the doctor, then back to their house for a visit probably thru dinnertime. Which means once we leave the house around 12noon I won't be back until nighttime. So I guess I'd better get off here and get cracking!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Day 1 of Project Home Organization

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to give FlyLady another try. Today I did Babystep 1, Shine Your Sink.

I felt ridiculous.

I'm not gonna lie, with so many other things on my plate, so many other chores and tasks waiting for me, it seemed so silly to spend so much time & energy cleaning out my kitchen sink. I seriously considered skipping this step altogether and going to the second day even, except for two things:

#1 - I kept reminding myself that my own methods have not worked in the past. She is arguably an expert in the field, and has thousands of people who swear by her methods. But I did have to tell myself this multiple times throughout the day.

#2 - something she says on her site. She talks briefly about why such a seemingly small task is first, and part of it is about how if you are coming to her it's because you have struggled with your home probably for years and that means you are probably very beaten down and you need a small victory. And you see, the night before I had laid in bed and cried - no... sobbed - to Jason about how much I felt like a failure because I couldn't do it. I beat myself up daily over it. I feel like a failure as a wife & mother over it. And have for years. I am completely beaten down by the state of my home. She's right. She knows what she's talking about.

And so I did it. My kitchen sink has probably never been cleaner. Maybe not even when we installed it, LOL.

And while it wasn't the only chore I did today, the time I spent doing that, combined with a extra-whiny Jillian, meant that I got a lot less accomplished than I would have liked.

But I'm going to trust the process. I'm asking my husband to trust the process. He knows all too well that my own methods haven't worked either, so I'm asking him to please support me in trying this new way of doing things, even if they don't always make sense to either of us. Because something has to change.

I'm hoping this works. I need this to work. I probably won't post about my progress every day, but I will try to keep you updated on how it goes.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

FlyLady

Are ya'll familiar with FlyLady? Well, I heard about her system years ago. Even tried it after I had Jena. It's a method of creating and maintaining a clean & organized home.

I failed the first time I tried it. But looking back, maybe it wasn't the best time for me to try something new. I was struggling with a new baby, problems in my marriage, post partum depression, work, etc, etc, etc. Even though I needed something to help me manage my house, maybe adding a new responsibility in the form of a new process wasn't the best idea at the time. No wonder I failed!

Well, I came across her stuff again recently, and I have to admit that my own methods just aren't working. I figured once I was a SAHM and I had more time in the house, I would be able to manage the home myself.

Boy, was I wrong.

It's not for lack of trying. I cannot express to you how hard I work at it. I try so hard. I've created different schedules, I've gotten up early, stayed up late, worked, worked, worked. I feel horrible because I feel like I never actually play with my kids because all I do is chores. Yet somehow my house is still a disaster and I mostly fix pre-made frozen dinners.

Clearly I am doing something wrong. I just don't know what it is.

I discussed it with my mom, and she told me that when she has known a SAHM that didn't have a clean house, they usually had a hidden time killer they needed to get rid of. She had her own when she was younger: television.

Well, I'm not not saying it's not still a possibility, but I am saying if I have time killer, I haven't found it yet. I've eliminated watching my shows down to feedings or while folding laundry. Didn't help. Social media, and other screen time? Limited that to while on the toilet (don't tell my friends, LOL) or while waiting for Jillian to fall asleep (she's a super-light sleeper and we have a small house, so it's "don't move!" until we know she's down - usually 5 - 10 min). As you already know, I gave up blogging until recently. Still no. I even gave up getting regular sleep and started staying up later and/or getting up earlier (depending on the day's activities) so I could get more done. Nope. So if there's a time killer there, I don't know what it is.

But what is evident is that my methods aren't working, and I need outside help. So I decided to try FlyLady again.

Wish me luck!
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