Progress is Progress!

In January, I decided enough was enough. I was going to make my health a priority. Healthy eating. Daily exercise. Mindfulness. Taking control of my mental health. Nurturing my spiritual health. I knew it would take a lot of self control and discipline, and truth be told, I was nervous that I’d start this goal out strong, then eventually it’d fade out and I’d go back to my past ways.

But I promised myself I’d do my best. I’d hold myself accountable. I’d believe in myself and I’d push myself.

And now I am three and a half months in and still going strong and I am freaking proud of myself!

I’ve never had a goal weight or clothing size in mind. I just wanted to feel healthy, strong, confident and empowered. I’m happy to say that I’m doing so well and 100% doing exactly what I know I should be doing right now. My self confidence is higher than it’s been in so long, I feel good, I feel strong, I feel empowered and confident and my mental health is doing leaps and bounds better.

Like I anticipated, it really has taken a lot of accountability and discipline, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come and that I’m doing it in a healthy way. No foods are off limits, I’m giving myself grace and I’m being realistic. It feels good to get fit and healthy while also keeping a healthy, happy mindset! I can’t wait to see how I’ll feel months from now!

Not Defined

“If someone judges you harshly or talks behind your back, that is more of an indication of their own negativity, not of who you are.”

I wish I could remember where I heard this, but I wrote it down years ago and have never forgotten it. When it comes to my mental health, my anxiety and especially my postpartum journeys, I get so caught up in what people think about me, their judgements, and what they’re saying when I’m not around. I get obsessively hung up over it until I start to feel sick. But I try so hard to remember that people judging other people – thats negativity being spread. Its nothing that should concern me. What people have to say about the and the way I’m navigating my own life doesn’t define who I am. There’s also the possibility that this is all just my inner dialogue saying, “what if?” I don’t even know for certain there are people judging me or saying negative things I fear, but its always a thought in the back of my mind. But I do my best to not allow my mind to travel there.

This mindset is so much easier said than done, but I’m getting better at remembering I am not what others think of me. Mental health is such a rollercoaster, isn’t it?

What things are you working on remembering and implementing into your lives?! Let me know! I want to support you – especially in your mental health journey!

The Year We Never Saw Coming

Around this time last year, the world as we knew it, changed. There is no way that at the end of 2019 we could’ve ever imagined that 2020 would look the way it did. Its all so crazy and surreal to look back at a whole year later. Remember when the world ‘shut down’ and it was supposed to only last a couple of weeks to flatten the curve? Even then, when everything was first shut down, I don’t think we truly had any idea what was in store for us. Did anyone look at this and think we’d still be in a very similar spot a year later?

I’m grateful for the progress. There is more knowledge and security. There is more peace and hope. I’m very, very thankful for that. But its still hard to grasp. I’m still in a sort of denial that this is the new normal we thought would only have to last a few weeks.

Us, right at the beginning of quarantine

In the space of this crazy year, a lot of big changes have happened in our family.

We added our sweet little Flora to the family, thus having a pandemic baby which is the wildest of rides, and the thing that definitely rocked me the most in all of this. When I found out I was pregnant in October 2019, I truly had no idea that during much of my pregnancy I’d be stressed out about my health and a scary new virus taking over the world. I had no idea how much fear would be instilled in me about the health of my baby. I had no idea how overwhelming it would be to have a baby in the smack middle of a global pandemic. However, there were silver linings, too. Craig was working from home around this time still, so it felt like extended paternity leave. He got to help so much with the boys and the new baby. We didn’t see extended family quite as much as we would have liked to, but it forced us to really rely on one another in a way we’d never done before. It also helped me find my voice and be confident in my gut feelings, when it came to having difficult or awkward conversations with other people when it came to visitors, outings, etc.

We also moved, which is another thing we just didn’t see coming. Our new home has been such a blessing. It all happened so fast and was a lot like a whirlwind while it happened, so now that we are settled and comfortable here in our new place, I’m really seeing how great of a decision this was for our family. Our new home has space to grow and continue to build our family. This is where our kids will grow up and I’m so thankful we are in this place.

I’ve also learned a lot about myself in this year. We opted not to put Harrison in preschool this year and chose to do homeschool. Since Emmett is just two years behind him, I decided to do preschool at home with them both. I wasn’t sure how it would all go. I know I’m capable of teaching preschool level curriculum, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be an exciting ‘teacher,’ or if I’d be able to teach things in a way that my kids would be able to internalize. But thanks to online resources and approximately 8 billion prayers on my part, I found that not only can I do this, but I can be really good at it. The kids and I have had so much fun doing preschool together. I’ll admit, I’m a little bit sad that next year Harrison will go off to Kindergarten and Emmett will officially start in a real preschool.

We learned a lot about respecting others. I think we can all agree that wearing masks is a pain. They’re sweaty, they cause acne, they make breathing seem trickier, but I do think they’re something just fine to enforce right now. I’m definitely not against them. But even more than my feelings on masks, I’ve learned to see that wearing a mask in public is very much a way to show that I and my family love and care for others. Me wearing a mask is an outward way to show that I respect you and your health and well-being. Its also been a nice way to teach my kids about respecting others.

I learned that I’m resourceful. There was the period of time when basic food items were hard to find. I learned to be resourceful with the food I had in my pantry. I learned how to make fun, educational things out of the seemingly mundane things around our house for the kids. I was able to dive back into my love of scrapbooking in all the time spent at home, and made our families own Quarantine Scrapbook, that I really think I’ll cherish and hopefully my posterity will, as well.

My testimony grew tremendously in this year. I’m a worrier. My dad is a high-risk person. I was pregnant for a long time during this and wasn’t sure what Covid could do to a pregnant or breastfeeding woman. I imagined terrible things happening to the health of those I love, especially the people who didn’t take it as seriously as I was. I just worried constantly. I feared the worst happening. I knew the virus didn’t typically have bad things happen to young children, but I still wondered if my children would be the acceptation if they got it. I was a ball of anxiety. Well, I always am. But I was an even bigger ball. I would pray so many times a day and just beg Heavenly Father for clarity and calm. I’d pour my heart out for the well-being of my family. I’d ask for peace of mind, because at times, my mental health struggled so much under all the fear and uncertainty. Sometimes I had to learn some lessons first, or search hard for answers, but I definitely was comforted and felt peaceful. I was strongly reminded that God is in all the details and he is stronger than any earthly person, even stronger than a global pandemic. I was reminded that His plan is truly the plan of happiness, and He knows what He’s doing. I trust Him. I know He has me and my family, and everyone, securely in His hands.

We are a year into this now. I’m not sure when things will be ‘norma,’ again, or if they ever will. But I’m happy to report, that though this has all been crazy and unexpected, I’ve found joy, happiness and learning in the year of quarantine.

Us a few weeks ago

Love you all. I hope you’re all doing ok. Life is weird right now. Life is crazy. Things can be uncertain. But we can do this!

I’ve Got Your Back

The other night, I posted this on my Instagram stories:

“It was a weird day mentally. And now I’m in bed and I can just feel my anxiety getting thicker and yuckier. I’m stressed because I seem to get these anxiety attack flare-ups when I don’t sleep well, and Flora doesn’t sleep great lately. So I feel like I’m just sitting here waiting for it to get worse. Ugh. Its a crappy, heavy feeling.”

“I’m sharing this as a reminder that its normal to not feel 100% all the time. Its also normal for things to switch quickly. It happens to SO many people, its just not vocalized all the time. I was feeling so good a lot of the day, but in the last few hours its progressively switched. Its ok. Its normal. Im going to focus on dealing with this. Feeling it. Acknowledging it. Then doing the things that usually help me feel better.”

After posting those stories, I went to bed. The next morning I woke up to 171 DM’s. I was flooded with messages from people offering words of encouragement and advice. They shared with me their own stories and hardships with mental health.

I have always known that mental health and postpartum hardships aren’t a rarity. But having that many people reach out to me was something powerful. In all of those messages, I felt validated and United with a group of people who didn’t choose their hard, but are still powering through. Some days it’s easier than others, but we’re doing it! I’m proud of that. I’m proud of us.

If you’re one of these fellow warriors, I just wanted to tell you I love you. I hear you. I support you. I’ll advocate for you. I’ve got your back. If you feel alone, or on edge, or at a breaking point or any other strong, hard emotions, and you have no one to talk to – talk to me!! I will listen. I won’t cast judgement or question why you feel the way you do. Because I get it. I understand it. Let’s help each other. Let’s keep speaking up. Let’s keep having each other’s backs.