Avoidance.

When faced with a problem, whether made up or otherwise, my first instinct is to shut down.  I want to get in bed and hide under the covers.  I want to sleep all day, mindlessly surf the internet in between naps, and stare at the TV for hours until its time to go back to bed.  When I was younger, I would pretend to be sick so I could stay home from school.  (This tactic wasn’t always successful since my mom was a nurse.)  Once I could drive myself to school, I would skip school to avoid things like class presentations or not having anyone to eat lunch with.  Instead of dealing with whatever is bothering me, I just avoid the issue all together.  

As you can probably guess, after 20+ years of avoidance, I don’t have a lot of other strategies for resolving these types of problems.  Instead of shutting down, my goal is to be more mindful of my actions, thoughts, and perceptions going forward.  There is no point in beating myself up for things that happened in the past. Instead,  I can choose to learn from those mistakes.  Plus, owning up to my past failures feels surprisingly liberating.  For the first time, I am being completely honest with myself.

I say all of this knowing there will be days that I slip up.  I’m not perfect.  But now I am formally acknowledging my pattern of avoidance.  I am very aware that this is a problem for me, and my coping skill of choice isn’t doing me any favors .  I feel like this realization is half of the battle.  Winning the battle will come next.

Until next time,

Cheers… 😉

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Struggling.

I thought I was better.

Its been a few weeks since I’ve seen my therapist.  When I scheduled my appointment, I honestly thought about canceling the session because things have been going so well.  I had been losing weight and exercising, doing things far out of my comfort zone, and feeling more confident about myself.

This week must be a sign that I should keep my upcoming appointment.  I am struggling at work, and actually fear losing my job.  I have not been sleeping well or eating well, and I haven’t had the energy to exercise.  I even canceled walking with my walking buddy this week because I was so exhausted.  Everything feels out of control.  My first reaction is to eat a bunch of junk food and sleep all day.  I know that will only make things worse.

Just in case, I started looking for jobs and it just made me even more sad.  I don’t want to find a new job.  I love my schedule and the fact that I can work remotely.  Plus, all of the jobs posted were the same: either very low pay or required driving into the city, which I hate.  I don’t feel like what I’m doing now is my dream job, so maybe this is a sign I need to start over. I have no idea what else I would like to do.  And that makes me sad too.

Here’s hoping tomorrow will be better.

Until next time….

Minimalism

I don’t think of myself as a materialistic person.  I carry the same purse everyday.  It’s basic black and goes with everything.  I don’t have a problem with buying shoes from Payless (they fit my wide feet comfortably and I practically live in my Sanuk flip flops anyway, so whats the point in spending tons of money on shoes I rarely wear?).   Minimalism seems like a no-brainer for me.

My husband, on the other hand, loves his stuff.  He insists that we keep the Keurig AND our old drip coffee pot for when company comes over.  This would make sense if we had lots of people over on a regular basis, but we rarely have company over (less that 5 times a year), and usually only one or two people want coffee when asked.  He is guilty of buying multiple tubes of the same chapstick because he misplaces them in jacket pockets, drawers, or the car.  Needless to say, he is not a minimalist.

Much to my surprise, a few weeks ago he said he heard about a minimalism documentary on a podcast he was listening to and thought we could watch it together.  Of course I had already seen the documentary he was referring to (twice!), but I jumped at the chance to watch it again with him 🙂  The documentary made many valid points, but I think the one that stuck out for him most was that we are trained to always want more.  We live in a consumer culture and we are groomed to want the latest and greatest items at any given moment.  This doesn’t stop at traditional advertisements.  Social media is also to blame.  We see celebrities posting their latest purchases on Instagram, influencing us to buy the newest tech items, skincare products, or fancy clothes.

How can we possibly be happy living with less?
It is possible to live a simple, happy life.  For starters, you need to define happiness and what it means to you.  What makes you truly happy?  For me, it is spending time with my husband, traveling, hiking, and cuddling with my cats.  ❤

How do I get started?
Start small if the idea of decluttering overwhelms you.  I feel invigorated when I get rid of clutter.  I can go through our entire bonus room in one sitting, creating piles of stuff to be sorted or discarded.   My husband is the opposite.  He would prefer to do one thing at a time, and that’s ok.

What do I do with all of the excess?
I would recommend selling valuable items you no longer need on Craigslist or eBay.  You can also have a yard sale, but I have not had much luck with them myself.  I usually give myself a month or so to keep the “for sale” items around, and if they don’t sell in 30 days, I donate them to charity.  Another awesome tip for things like books and movies is the Amazon trade-in program.  Not all items are eligible, but if you have an item that is a trade-in item, you can send it to Amazon and they will send you back a gift card.  Did I mention Amazon pays the shipping too?!

Since watching the documentary, my husband has willingly donated or sold a large chunk of items he no longer needs 🙂  He is more comfortable with the idea of owning less, and just keeping what he truly loves.  (Glad he is keeping me!  Haha)  Owning less means less upkeep, less money spent on things, and more time to do what we love.  And that makes me happy 🙂

Until next time….

Cheers 😉