Picking a New Word….

First of all let me say “Sorry you have not heard from me in a while”.  Obviously the excuse is the holidays and the craziness that ensues during them.  Secondly, my Christmas was great!  Thanks for asking.  How was yours?  I hope just as good if not better.  Thirdly, how have your runs/training/just plain exercising routines been going?  Mine, not so great but I have been able to do at least one run each week.  This week oddly enough I made it to the gym twice so far and it is only Thursday.  (4 mile run on Christmas eve before church and then 4 mile run this evening).

cherish2Now finally, the reason I decided to blog tonight and what has been going on in my mind…(this should be fun, you inside my mind!  Have fun!)  Last year at this time I decided to start something new.  Instead of a new years resolution I decided to take a word and focus on it throughout the year.  My word this past year was gratitude.  Quite a word to use as my first word because it brought all kinds of tests for me of which I should probably write about in a different blog later (maybe after the first of the year or this weekend which ever gives me a moment to share with you all).  Anyway…. I have been thinking about the word “cherish” as my new word and wondering how I would integrate it into my life.  I believe I will continue my gratitude journal so I could write about a cherished moment I had during the day, use the word to remind me daily to take a moment and cherish my life, make a cherish jar kind of like this one: memory jar

and fill it with events that have happened throughout the year to cherish and remember.  Not really sure how I’m gonna do it but I think I have picked my new word for the year.

Why this word?  Well look at the definition:

1.   a : to hold dear : feel or show affection for <cherished her friends>

           b : to keep or cultivate with care and affection : nurture<cherishes her marriage>

     2: to entertain or harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely<still cherishes that memory>

I think these are two good reasons to pick this word.

How about you?  Ever picked a word to focus on for the year?  If so which one?  If not, why not?  How about new years resolutions, do you make them?  Do you keep them for the whole year?cherish1

A week in somewhat of a review!

christmastree1I am so happy it is Friday.  The unfortunate part is that by the time I write this post and get it posted, it might be Saturday.  But I don’t care, I’m doing it anyway!  Not even sure what I am gonna write about but I felt the need.

I guess I will start with what I learned this week:  I learned that being a therapist is hard!  Okay, I already knew that but this week was a real challenge for me (especially in the midst of what felt like my own breakdown/breakthrough).  I got into therapy to help people and I guess with it comes the unfortunate wanting to “fix things” for everyone.  But, hey guess what, that can’t be done.  I know this but have to constantly remind myself I am just there to help others find their strength.  They have it inside them, I’m just there to help them.  So I guess that is a pretty big lesson to keep reminding myself of or just relearn again, over and over again!

I don’t know about you but I was also overwhelmed this week by the fact that this month has gone so fast.  I once heard someone say (and I totally believe) “we rush through our childhood wanting to grow up and then when we grow up we want things to slow down so we can enjoy them.”  I’m screaming for things to slow down!!!  Can you hear me?!  Not sure whether it is effective because life still seems to be cruising by.  So this weekend my goal is to try and slow down.

I did take a great step in slowing down tonight.  We had a Christmas show (I performed a tap dance with my daughter and it was wonderful) and then poof it was over.  Everyone cleared out and the place was quiet.  I waited around for the person to come back to lock up and I just sat in the silence.  I looked around at the trees that decorated the facility took a couple of pics (here is one)christmastree and just tried to relax.  I thought about my week, about the tragic news in Connecticut, and just thought “I need to continue to enjoy my family, tell them I love them, and never be afraid to be who I am because life is short.”  Maybe that is why you are getting this rambling blog tonight.  Maybe I want you to hear, “Life is short.  We must take every opportunity to cherish what we have.”

This weekend, this is my focus and something I want to continue to practice throughout the month as well as next year.  Maybe that will be my word of the year.  Last year’s word was “gratitude”.  Maybe this year will be “cherish”.  I think it sounds like a plan.

How was your week?  Did you learn anything new?  Are you glad it is Friday?  Do you ever pick a word and think/reflect on it throughout the year?  Why or why not?  Love to hear from you!

Really living!

“They really lived!!” a quote from Secondhand Lions

Last night I got home kind of late after spending the evening with some wonderful ladies and when I came in Dave was watching the end of a movie.  I felt like I had seen the movie but couldn’t really remember but I wanted to respect him and his viewing but I wanted to chat so I sat down and watched the last few minutes.

Then I heard that line, “They really lived”.  This got me to thinking, what does it mean to really live?  Will people say that about me when I die?  “She really lived!”

I want them too.  And I really want to live today so I can give them a chance to say it some 50 or so years from now (very optimistic that I will live healthly for a long time!).

But then that makes me begin to define what does it mean to “really live”.  Most of our days are filled with routines.  We have work, meetings after work, kids to get to dance or other activities, and we go, go, go.  Then on the weekends we try and rest.  Is that how we want to live?  Probably not all of that but how do we find a balance that allows us to really LIVE?

As I have been saying this week, I am on a staycation at home between jobs and I am trying to relax and with that comes defining how to relax (still working on that) but now I add on what does it mean to Live?  Could I give myself one more challenge for the week, I thought I was on vacation?!  But I think defining how we live also defines how we relax so as much as those two maybe seem like separate concepts I think they are very similar. 

This is what I have thought so far about living:

  1. Make the most of everyday
  2. Smile a lot because I am convinced it can change your mood.  It is hard to smile when you are in a bad mood but if you try it, it can make it better faster.
  3. Enjoy the people you are with.  Including take time and get together with others.  It is so worth it!
  4. Allow yourself to cry and show emotions.  I am taking this one to heart this year and as you already know, I cry a lot especially when it has to do with my senior in high school.
  5. Tell people how much they mean to you.  They want to hear it but won’t ask and you will benefit from it too as long as it is the truth.
  6. Do something with your partner/spouse/good friend at least once a month.
  7. Try new things.  Just recently went rock climbing for the first time.  It was great and something I had never done before.
  8. Read and develop new knowledge about new things of interest.  You can teach old dogs new tricks!
  9. Take time to relax.  Working on it but if I am doing some of these other items, I find it very relaxing.
  10. Last but not least…. Remember to take time for yourself.  I do mine through running and training.  I really get in touch with my body and feel at peace (most of the time!).

 

I hope you find these helpful.  I am sure if I stick to this plan others will exclaim after my long, long life, “She really lived!”

Downtime and trying to Relax

Not sure I have really talked about it in my blog but I recently got a new job.  Oh, I haven’t started yet but I will at the end of the month.  I am excited, nervous and looking forward to the change.  In the meantime, I have taken some time off.  I would like to say these two weeks off will be filled with me getting my life in order and relaxing but mostly what it consists of is errands, errands and getting things done before I start the new job.  Why is it we wait until we have time off to relax to do all the things we need to get done?  Doesn’t that sound counterproductive?  Shouldn’t we use the time off for what it should be used for? Taking time for ourselves or spending it with our family.  So that is my goal starting NOW!

How do you spend your downtime?  Do you ever just take time to relax?  Do you know how to relax?  Do you feel relaxed with my hitting you with all these questions?  I’m feeling better sending all my anxiety to you my wonderful blog readers!  🙂

To some a bubble bath is relaxing, reading a book is relaxing, to me relaxing is taking a long run on a beautiful fall day.  I was able to do that today but it was a short long run (now that doesn’t make very much sense does it?).  I use to consider a long run about 3 or 4 miles but that was before I would do 9 and 10 mile long runs.

So I did a 4 mile long/short run today to help with my relaxation.  It was mid-afternoon and the fall trees looked gorgeous and the temp was in the low 60’s.  Great weather.  I love spending the time listening to my ipod and getting out of my head.  Relaxing and in some weird ways thinking.  Hey, I can’t help it!  I have never really learned how to stop my head, at least I was thinking about doing things relaxing.

I think it is important to determine what it is that makes you relax.  What is even more important is for you to do it!!!  So get started, make a list, think about, or however you want to do it, just find more ways to relax.  Your body, mind and soul will thank you for it!

Whirlwind trip to New York City

Saturday morning at 5:30 am we set out for our whirlwind trip to New York City.  Really it was a trip about visiting colleges (Hofstra and Adelphi) but we turned it into more, because if you are that close to the city, why not drop on in?!

We took a ferry to Long Island which was relaxing and then drove through beautiful wine country.  Was so wanting to stop and just spend our trip there but I am not sure my daughter would appreciate not seeing the colleges, the original destinations!

We made it to Hofstra, took the tour and spent some time exploring the bookstore because everyone needs a shirt from all the colleges they visit!  It was now time to check in to the hotel and make our way into the city.  Here are some fab pictures we took on our trip:

 

Notice how there are no pics of the colleges.  We really did visit, honest.  For some reason we only took our camera’s out when we were in the city.

Some of the things I noticed about myself were these:

  • I still cry when the admissions person talks about my daughter being the class of 2013 for her high school but they are looking at her as the class of 2017 !  Maybe I just had something in my eye, maybe it was the cost of these colleges, or maybe it is back to that not so distant blog post about really missing her when she goes away!
  • I am not a city person!!!!  I grew up in the midwest and love New England but those city people are harsh.  From driving to walking they were very overwhelming!  There was one point while I was driving that the train came through and I had to stop making the person behind me miss making through the red light.  He honked at me and yelled at me for the entire five minutes we waited on the train.  So apparently these people would rather me get hit by a train so they can make the light, where they would have to wait for the train too!  Not a fan of driving on Long Island.
  • Trains/Train stations are unpredictable which cause me stress!!!  Example: Made it to Penn station in time for the 12:14 am (yep that’s right been up since 5 am why not stay in nyc until 12:15am in the morning!) and there was no track assigned to the train.  What?  How does that happen?  When they finally announced the track number it was 12:16am and everyone who was waiting, which must have been about 300 people made a mad dash for the train.  That was fun! Not!!!  But we made it.
  • I love to surprise people.  When we surprised Mack with Chicago tickets (I videoed it and it is great!) I cried again!  It was so much fun to be able to do that.  PS – I still watch the video and cry!
  • The 9/11 sight still brings back memories and emotions even this many years later and it looks pretty cool at night too.

Finally, I love fun whirlwind trips but it takes a few days to really feel rested from long adventures.  I guess I might be getting old or I just need to do more of them to get use to it!!

Riding the Ferry to Long Island! It is really early!

PS – did not get any runs in while on this trip but we did walk ALOT so I think that counts as my exercise for the weekend.  Back to the gym this week.

Motivational Monday

Found this  for motivational monday at this blog (http://notsalmon.com/blog/page/8/#).  You should go visit because she has lots of great stuff.

 

I am currently reading this book: 

because I thought it would be a great way to prepare for my new job and continue on my path to being a better, stronger therapist.  Here is the website that goes along with the book: http://happiness-project.com/

I hope you will take the time to explore it all.

Happy Monday!

Full Circle Moment

I talk a lot in my work about awareness and how if we actually took a moment to look at things around we would see connections in life events.  Today, I had many of those moments and they were so impactful my brain kept saying, “Blog about it!  Mainly so you will remember it happened once life gets crazy again.”  So here I am sharing….

My day was filled with ups and downs like always but today I just took it all in and savored it.  I enjoyed spending time with my clients in groups and in the hallways, then spending a long lunch hanging out with the other Clinicians laughing and just having fun.   The full circle moment came when I got in my car at the end of the day and turned on the car.  A song by Rascal Flatts was playing in my cd player and the lyrics that it was on (rather loudly because I was jamming on my way to work at 6am this morning) were “she’s leaving”, very fitting as I was driving away.  When I looked in my rearview mirror all I saw was the huge butterfly balloon that one of my friends gave me and it seemed so appropriate.  It brought tears to my eyes to realize over a year and half ago I started with this company during grad school when I had never sat in front of a client much less 32 and held group.  I began to think about how much I have metamorphosed into a butterfly.  A very colorful butterfly who was shaped and colored by this experience.  Because of this place I feel confident that I have made a good choice to continue my career.  I am thankful for every experience I had and grateful for all the wonderful people I meet.

I wonder if you have ever had a full circle moment.  The type of moment where everything just fell into place and you understood why things happened like they did.  If so, you know where I am.  If not, what is keeping you from really taking a breath and being aware of things around you, moments happening in your life, and learning from events that may not mean a lot at the time but they will.  Try it!  You may like it!

Transitions

Transition, noun

1.movement, passage, or change from one position, state,stage, subject, concept, etc., to another; change:

Thank you Dictionary.com for defining where I am, in the middle of a transition.  Am I scared?  Well yes, I am human!  Am I excited?  Yep.  But still nervous.

Here’s the scoop:  When I started grad school I wanted to work in a college setting as an academic advisor and by the time I graduated I was employed full-time as a Clinician in Substance Abuse and Addiction.  Can it get any farther away from my original plan?  Not really sure.  But it has.  Now I find myself transitioning on to another point in my career.  I have given my notice at work and will be taking on an outpatient clinician role at the end of the month.  So that is where I am right now.  I have one more day at work and then a few weeks off to take a much needed break but I am still nervous.  As I have said in the past, I am my own worst client.

I’m trying to figure out why I am so nervous about this transition.  I think it has to do with the unknown.  The known is that I will have Clients (I better because if I don’t, they won’t pay me!).  Also, the known is that I will get to sleep a little later than I do right now (5:30 am comes very early) and I will get to stay up a little later with my family (bed by 9:ish because again 5:30am comes early!).  The other known is that I met some of the therapist I will be working with and they seem really nice.  Also, this job is closer to home so my commute will be only about 5 – 10 mins, instead of 25-30 mins (Yeah for saving gas too!)  These are all great things in my known category.

Now the unknown: I’ve been in inpatient for my career and now outpatient is different so I learn to adapt and hope I can do it fast.  Will they like me?  (Don’t we all have that thought going through our heads when we change jobs or meet new people.)  I hope so, I’m pretty likeable (at least that is what I like to think!).  Will I be able to do the job?  I tend to think this a lot too and it comes down to my confidence in my abilities.  (Still working on that but aren’t we all a work in progress)

So tomorrow is my last day at my current job and when I leave I take with me some wonderful experiences and some not so wonderful experiences but in the end I have grown and feel ready for this transition.  And the good news is that I have lots of phone numbers of people to call if I need a boost of confidence (isn’t it nice to have people who believe in you!).  I already feel better about making this transition!

Tick, Tick, Tick…. Weeeeeeee!!!!

Now that I have your attention, can you figure out what I am referencing?  Answer: a roller coaster.  In particular, it is the emotional roller coaster that I am on right now.  Ever feel like you have been on one?  If not, I want to come visit you and find out what you are doing.  Right now my rollercoaster is beginning to feel out of control.  One minute I am doing okay, not great, just okay, but handling things and then the next I feel tears welling up.  Where it is coming from, I think I know but it is a huge combination of things.  Two of my main triggers are stress from work (sometimes feeling I can’t handle all the issues I am presented with and help everyone solve their problems.  Big error in that thinking because I can’t help everyone solve their problems they have to do it themselves but I sometimes put too much pressure on myself) and the next one is having a senior in high school and this one for multiple reasons.  One is I will miss her and I am already thinking about how she won’t be around next year (I am really conscious of the time I get to spend with her now and relish in every moment).  Another one came this evening when I had to go to senior parent night and listen to the guidance counselors tell us about the admission process.  Can you say DAUNTING?!  I myself have gone through the application process on multiple occasions for myself but it is different with your kid, mainly because it seems like they want more info now than when I was younger.  But we are facing it head on and will make it through.

So how do I handle the emotional roller coaster part that these things bring on?  Well, I would like to say with grace and ease.  But really I am my own worst client.  Tonight before my senior night I wanted to go for a run.  So I got dressed and was getting ready to head out for an outdoor run (it was in the high 60’s, perfect for a run) but at the last minute decided to go to the gym instead, mainly because my roller coaster was in mid-weeeeeee mode where I was not really in the mood to go, knew it would help, but really did not want to put out the effort.  So by going to the gym I could just get off the treadmill when I felt like I had had enough instead of knowing that I had to run back as far as I ran out if I went outside.  And that is what happened.  I made it 1.25 miles, got off the treadmill, went and stretched and left.  Did it help?  Kind of.  Should I have gone longer?  Probably.  But the problem was that my roller coaster had translated to tight muscles in my legs and I was in pain.  I am smart enough to know that if I am causing myself pain, it is better to stop than really hurt myself.  So I did.

My roller coaster is still running and I am trying to figure out how to at least slow it down.  I have some tricks in my bag like using breathing techniques and visualization techniques which I am finding somewhat helpful.  I am hoping that the most helpful thing is that today was my Friday so I get to sleep in tomorrow and I feel like I need that extra sleep.  Sometimes that is really all I need and here is hoping that my roller coaster is a kiddie one tomorrow instead of the crazy wooden one that jerks you around and sends your heart up into your throat as it drops as well as beats you up along the way.

My biggest hope is that you have learned through this blog post is that we all struggle (even someone trained to help others cope) and perseverance and desire to make some changes is what is going to pull me through in the end.