Mom-ing

Darkness before the Dawn…

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It is in my humble opinion that loss of any kind is a wound that time does not actually heal.  In fact I think that is a rather harsh and insensitive approach to grief.  One that I myself have been naive to believe.  Until now.  Experience is education and within the two we become smarter and wiser.  I’ve learned through losing my sister in law that loss is not something we get over, nor should we.  With time we do not hurt less, nor do we love less.  We simply learn to live with the pain.  We accept it into our daily lives in a way.  And it does not come gently and without force.  If you experience loss (which we all eventually must) then you know exactly that.

Here we are at the beginning of a new year.  And even more than that, a new decade.  2020! (How is that even possible?). So, in a sense, time is relentless.  It seems to be even faster paced than ever before…I can’t be the only one that feels like this.  Loss has a funny way of amplifying things.  Making one feel like more needs to be done.  A feeling of mortality looming.  At the end of every year I have a sense of reflection…like ‘have I done enough?’, ‘did I fill my days to the fullest?’, but this year I’ve had even more reflection involving the QUALITY of time…’have I done enough GOOD?’, ‘have my days left my HEART the fullest?’.  It has left me saying “yes” as much as possible which in turn has left me in a burn out.  In a way being my busiest self has allowed me to avoid some of the things that I’m struggling with.  I need to find that happy medium and I’m working harder at figuring out what it is that brings me true happiness and spend less time worrying about the things that are out of my hands.

So if like me you are feeling a similar angst I’ve created a bit of a ‘game plan’ to get myself back on track both mentally and physically as well as emotionally/spiritually.

  • Get rid of the clutter: This includes the distractions in your life that help you to avoid.  The physical clutter as well as the mental.  Clean out the closets, organize that junk drawer, clear some space in your calendar so you have time to not be “on”.
  • Get moving: Outside is best.  But whatever works to get your body in motion for 20-30 mins everyday. Sweat it out.
  • Turn off the Tech: Get offline more.  Limit social media time.  Instead of tv opt for a good book.
  • Journal: Get a prompted writing agenda if this is new.  I chose “A Mindful Year” but there are tons out there.
  • Get Creative: Do something that inspires you.  My goal is to get back to watercolour painting.
  • Eat Well: Get at those greens.  Cook together with family and try new recipes.  For me this also means less ‘lazy meals’ and more whole foods.   Less alcohol is also on my list.  Moderation is key.
  • Stay Open: Keep your tribe close.  Make sure that communication is at the heart of your relationships and be honest on the crappy days as well as the great ones.  And listen to your body and mind.  If you need to slow down and chill DO THAT.

I’m hoping that writing my ‘game plan’ down and realizing where my goals truly lie will help me to be successful.  Baby steps with momentum.  One day at a time is no joke.  Sincerely, one day at a time.  I think above all else, be gentle on yourself.

“Rhea: Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love!”

In honour of “Bell’s Lets Talk” Initiative here in Canada I think it’s so important to talk about your mental health and create a community in which to grow and heal.  I’d love to hear from you too; what are some tips and tricks that help keep you grounded and living your best life?  What are some of your struggles?

Blog, Mom-ing

Lost & Found

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I’m back! After a very long spring and summer hiatus I finally have some reformity and transformity in my life.

I’ve been rather transparent with my mental health journey in the past and I work hard to maintain as much of a balance in my life as I can but I truly needed to practice what I preach and take a good long hard look in the mirror these past months.  Dealing with depression and anxiety is no joke, it’s crippling at times…and it’s a constant work in progress.

I’ve struggled with the decision to go back on my meds or not and after a lot of research and soul searching I’ve decided to try different avenues for now. I fear the side effects of antidepressants more than anything at this point.  What I’ve done instead is perhaps a bit hippy-dippy…I’ve stocked my home with essential oils to diffuse and roll-on, I’ve amped my gut health vitamins and nutrients as well as be more consistent with my multi-vitamins. (Did you know there’s a direct relationship between your gut and your mental health? My regime now includes probiotics AND prebiotics.). I’ve also started to take time 3-5 times a week to study some personal growth “textbooks” (which right now include a lot of Brene Brown “The Gifts of Imperfection” and Sarah Knight “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck).   I’m slowly learning what it means to trust myself and stand up for myself.  I’m a perfectionist in the most ugly ways of that word.  I am learning to be kinder to myself.  Asking for help is THE HARDEST thing for me.  It smells and tastes like failure and I really need to change my perspective on that (once again, practice what I preach!). I have a lot to learn and a long way to go but I needed to take that time to focus on my health.

I’m all about the simple things, the little pleasures and the morsels of happy-inducing that flutter through our lives daily. I had gotten to a place of so much pain, bleakness, guilt, worry, regret and just plain old despair that I couldn’t shake the dark cloud that had made its home over me.   I needed to refocus and get back to a healthier head space. I needed to do this for me and my family. So that in turn led to way less blogging and photographing for the blog (which can I just say has gotten a lot harder with my impatient helper!! Lol!)…BUT I’m back! I’m still working on me but I’m breathing a little bit easier everyday! So the lost has been found.

I encourage you to take the time you need for your own heart and health too!  It’s a day-to-day process and it takes compassion and persistence.  It ultimately starts with you but there are many ways to get help…don’t go it alone.

Mom-ing

When the bottom falls out…

Picture this, you’re carrying an extremely heavy load, all tucked into a box. There are a million things in this box.  Somethings heavy, some as light as air.  Your box never changes size, it just gets fuller or empties as life persists.  You must carry this box from point A to B to C etc…now imagine the bottom of that box is beginning to get worn and ragged and is starting to fall apart. What do you do?

In the wake of so many local and beyond local tragedies and excessive loads that so many people I know (me included) are carrying, I felt compelled to write a post and share some thoughts on getting through those really rough times that life inevitably throws at us. Sometimes we are assaulted by life’s cruelties and some people especially seem to have to carry extremely heavy loads.

First and foremost you need to remember ‘you are not alone’.  You really aren’t.  Just like in the box scenario, if the bottom starts to fall out call for help.  Call anyone.  A friend, a relative, a helpline, a doctor…anyone.  You cannot carry that load alone.  It’s impossible, not failure.  Remember that above everything…’you are not alone and nor should you have to carry it alone’.  Just like “A joy shared is doubled,  A struggle shared is halved.” We as humans are not built to do this life alone.  We are meant to live, work, play, and love in packs/groups/tribes.  There are people and resources out there to get you and that load you’re carrying the help you need.  It may not be easy but trust me it’s worth it.     YOU are worth it.

  • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
  • Canadian Mental Health Association: 613-745-7750 (MB division: 204-982-6100)
  • Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: 204-784-4073
  • Your Life Counts: 289-820-5777
  • Manitoba Suicide Line: 1-877-435-7170
  • Manitoba Mental Health Education Resource Centre: 1-855-942-6568

Sometimes in the midst of disaster/tragedy/struggle our minds go into complete overdrive and so begins the cycle of never-ending anxiety and often despair.  Through the years I’ve learned some very basic tools to get me through those really aggressive times, especially at night, when the mind snowballs and won’t shut off and let us sleep, this in turn making for even more anxious days ahead.  Simply put, you need to stop your mind and stop that pattern.  Lots of people use meditation and deep breathing.  I find that what even works more simply is to ‘stop and think of 5 things I can hear’…’stop and think of 5 things I can physically feel’.  It seems so juvenile and trivial but it nearly always works long enough to calm my mind, slow my breathing, and relax my body enough that I can sleep.  Everything seems easier in the light of day.  So when you’re laying there at night and the world rushes in and your box starts to get even heavier, shut it out and think of 5 things…

Once you can stop the cycle that your brain inevitably wants to take you through with anxiety you are able to think clearer and this is when you need to focus on a new mantra of less worry.  Self-talk in a positive way is so extremely important.  Remind yourself that a) you are not alone. b) you can get through this. c) you are worth it. d) it WILL get better. And breathe. REALLY breathe.  Fill your lungs slowly and release that air slowly.  Focus on one thing for one moment. And ask for help.  Please ask for help.  No matter how little or big your struggles are there is someone there to help.  No matter the task or request, someone is there to help.  There are medications, counselling and mental health therapies that DO work.  Keep searching until you find the help you need but don’t do it alone…you need to fix and strengthen the bottom of that load you’re carrying but there are tools/supplies/resources out there to help.

We have to talk about it.  We have to share our loads. We have to reach out and ask for help. We have to be kinder to ourselves. We have to take care of each other. We have to have faith in brighter days ahead.

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