How to Survive a Shitty Year

One of my favorite things I’ve posted on Pinterest is a saying that goes, “I love Jesus, but I cuss a little.” I won’t explain myself or apologize for the title of this post. Sometimes an almost-cuss word just won’t do the trick.

This calendar year has been a tough one on my little family. We started out New Year strong with close friends at our house having a night of fun and laughter. It seems like things have been challenging ever since.

I started my new job in November of last year but didn’t really start traveling until January 2016. These kinds of careers, like all, have challenges on any family situation. We are adjusting to it in our own way and in our own time. I finally feel like we’re starting to hit a cadence with the travel schedule 3 months later.

My health has been concerning as well. With the extra travel and time on my feet and in unusual atmospheres I have been noticing more swelling, soreness and overall fatigue. After speaking with my amazing Rheumy we are pretty sure the increase in travel is what is taking the toll on my tired joints. More decisions to follow regarding this 2016 challenge.

Probably the biggest and hardest part of our year thus far has been losing our majestic boy, Denali. He was 185 lbs. of pure awesome and we miss the hell out of that big guy. Sometimes I have to stop myself from thinking of him to avoid bursting into uncontrollable sobbing in public places. I prefer to cry alone and in private, thank you very much. When my heart can type more I will have an entry on this specific topic and the grieving process of it all.

Our girl, Violet has had a tough time coping with her brother’s passing as well, which has added stress onto this year. She is the sweetest, most gentle soul you’ll ever meet in your life. I’m not sure what if feels like to lose a twin but she must be very lost. We are trying to do everything we can to help her heal.

We have lost human friends as well this year. You know the kind …the ones that make us question if we are good friends to those we let into our lives. Do we give enough time to the people who matter to us? The challenge here is that once we let someone in, we love him or her completely. There doesn’t seem to be enough time in a day to spread the amount of love, laughter and friendship around that we want to. In the end we’re left wondering if we loved enough.

Our other big stressor this year has been trying to figure out why we haven’t been able to start a family. We’re fairly private when it comes to things we’re currently dealing with. I’m not sure why. I think part of it is that we want to figure out how we really feel about our situation before opening ourselves up to suggestive advice or emotions of others. We realize there are many who want to be there for us but in the early phases and stages of things unfortunately that kind of “love” hurts us and doesn’t help us.

Probably the biggest stressor is helping to care for one of my family members in their time of need. There is no avoiding the situation and no ignoring it. Someone has to take the reins and help share the load. Even though it is out of love it does add stress to take care of others.

A laundry list of stressors… Even with the long list and short explanations I gave it still pails in comparison to what others are going through this year. Someone very close to me asked my husband recently what I meant when I said, “It’s been a tough year.”   Although this person had full knowledge of all of the struggles we were going through their personal challenges were, to them, more center stage than what we were going through. Although it hurt my feelings a bit I came to realize that I couldn’t expect people to put our issues before their own.

So, you might ask, “How do I get through a shitty year, Christi?” Well, I’ll tell you what I know to be helping me cope so far. If I think of any more I’ll keep adding to this post.

  1. Rely on your support system. They said they wanted to be there for you. Pick something they can listen to you talk about or something they can do for you.
  2. Find an escape…or two…or three. Make sure you have mechanisms in place to help you take your mind off of all the things that are happening around you. It might be music, movies, reading, yoga, mediation or gaming. Whatever it is do it in healthy amounts not to avoid dealing with your situations but to give your mind a mental break from them every now and then.
  3. Eat Right. If you succumb to the emotional eating habits of your 13-year-old self for all of the months that your stressor is in your life you’ve just added another stressor. Congratulations if you wanted to feel worse. Shame on you if you didn’t. Allow yourself indulgences. They’re important. Don’t down a carton of ice cream every other night and expect to have your mind, body or self-esteem feel good in the morning.
  4. Don’t Self-Medicate. It is important to go through all of the emotional stages of whatever you’re going through. They’re not fun. They don’t feel good all of the time. If you don’t feel it now day by day you will feel it all at once some day.
  5. Find a way to laugh. Laughing is healing. That’s all I have to say about that.
  6. Remove the negative. Hard times have a way of exposing relationships for what they truly are. If you’re in an unhealthy relationship (intimate, friend or otherwise) it might be time to examine what should be done. Although it might add a stressor to your life it is better to deal with it and be free than to put up with something that isn’t going to help you heal.
  7. Learn to say no. There are times you need to be more selfish with your time and your energy. When you have a personal situation going on, learn how to say no to others who need your time and attention. You’re of no use to anyone if you aren’t in good shape yourself.

That’s all for now.  Good luck to you.  I’ll see you out there…

xoxo,

Christi

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Planning Ahead

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Each New Year brings about new resolutions.  The desire to plan more effectively or gain control over one’s life via more organization seems to be among the top resolutions that are made.

I did not make a resolution to get my life more organized.  I did, however, decide that part of my general uneasiness over the last few weeks is largely due to the fact that I’m not back to work full-time yet and have no real point or schedule to each day.  I decided to take matters into my own hands and generate a new scheduling mechanism.

For years I have been a wide supporter of electronic calendars and storage of information.  After taking some time off from work these last few months I am enjoying my distance from electronic devices.  Seeing that all of my personal matters are rather difficult to store in my phone, I decided to combine my 5 email calendars and photos of my fiancé and family’s schedules.

I opted to buy an old school planner and try to use it for a few months and see how I like this method of scheduling and managing myself outside of work.   I found this discounted class planner at Kmart.  It is one of the planners that goes from August-July instead of all calendar year.  If I like this method in a few months I’ll search for a planner that is for the calendar year 2015.

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I love the owl on the rear cover. IMG_1113

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I’m using a fun patterned binder clip to clip the months August 2014-December 2014 together since I don’t have any plans to plan for the past.  😉  Congratulations if you followed that silly humor.  I then use a small paper clip to flip quickly from the monthly calendar to the weekly one.

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I also color coded many of the activities I want to track.  This will help me quickly look at the schedule to see when Chris is working, when I want to blog or film for YouTube or to see when other personal items come due.

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I’m only on day 2 but I’m loving a return of scheduling and structure to my day.  I’ll likely work on a follow-up post on how this is working out.  Have a great week!

xo,

Christi

  • Is anyone else planning/organizational obsessed?  I feel like I’m spinning out of control without an agenda or task list.
  • I made fondue for Chris last night.  It was his first time having fondue.  I think he liked it.  🙂
  • I’m seriously considering joining a Zonta e-Club.  I’m so excited to get back into Zonta.  Its worth checking out what Zonta does at www.zonta.org.
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Land of the LIVING: 2014 Year In Review

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Thanks for joining me for my year in review.  A lot has happened this year and I think it’s important to remember all of the good AND bad things from the past year and reflect on all of them.  

Challenges

  1. Losing loved family and friends. 
  2. Being laid off
  3. Losing health insurance (see #2)
  4. Denali’s torn ACL

Blessings

  1. Moved back to my hometown
  2. Being laid off
  3. Traveling to London, Ireland, Stonehendge, Alaska, Montana and Nashville
  4. Getting engaged <3
  5. Moving into the new house
  6. Holidays with my families
  7. New contract job opportunities
  8. Actively used my gym membership (and LOVED it!)
  9. Lived as fully as possible

The majority of my year can be summed up by referencing the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  The main character, Walter, redefines himself through a series of events.  In the end, being forced to examine himself and his life outside of what he’s known for 16 plus years was the best possible thing for Walter to finally start living the life he was destined for.  Part of me loves this movie for its amazing representation of true Wanderlust.  Most of me loves this movie for helping me make the choice to take a lay-off in the early summer and return my life, actions and decisions to not only myself, but my love, my family and my friends.  Its all too easy to get busy with life that we forget how to LIVE.  I am not perfect at it yet but I know I’ve never been happier (and more poor) than I am at the end of this year.

I had the chance to take stock of what truly matters to me in this life.  I had a glimpse that few get and an opportunity to make the changes I needed to save my life for LIVING.  My goal for 2015 is to continue to take a look at the most important parts of my life and spend my energy there.

A few years ago I finally realized and understood that not everyone is granted the same amount of time on this earth.  Far too many are taken away from us too young.  I vowed then and there to not speak in vain of any birthday, revolution or milestone that I may reach or surpass.  It’s an amazing thing to feel what these words mean:  Every day is a gift.  And it truly, truly is.

May you chose to LIVE in 2015.

xo,

Christi

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