Working on Self Care…Still

One of the major things that I am super unsure about and basically still learning is how to do self care. I know how to take care of others (my mum has called me Mother Hubbard for as long as I can remember) but self care has always been a little tricky.

I can say that at least one part of self care is indulging every now and again. Indulging in a favorite snack or indulging in face masks (which has become a personal favorite) or indulging in too much wine on a Friday night (which I get to do tonight whoo!). This is all like a reward for me. A reward for not losing my shit as my child decides for the fifth time that day to upend her hamper and mix her dirty clothes with her clean clothes. A reward for surviving traffic and drivers who have forgotten how to signal before merging.

The other part of self care, the part where you are supposed to be paying attention to your body, is a little more difficult for me to grasp. Mainly because growing up, when something new happened inside my body, whether it be painful or uncomfortable, I was always told it’s normal. So I kind of assumed it was all normal.

Recently, I have been exhausted. As my close friends and family know though, I am always tired. I am always wanting to take a nap. If I am comfortable enough around you, I will doze off for 10-15 minutes and feel rejuvenated afterwards. So being tired isn’t something new for me.

However, this exhaustion was different. I was tired down to my bones. Waking up in the morning was hard. Getting up and moving was hard. But once I was up and out it was easy for me to slip right back into that role that nothing was wrong. Because I think I’ve been through this before and I just automatically knew what to do: distract myself, don’t think about it because if you think about it, it’ll get worse.

So I distracted myself for a good week with going out with my friend to appointments and driving around. When I got home, my friend would be there with her son and the little ones would run around so I was still distracted. Distraction was working. For a bit.

It soon got to the point where it was all starting to grate on my nerves. I felt like exploding. Like everything was too much. Even being alone was too much. I caught myself near hyperventilation twice while just sitting in my room. Light headedness is now my friend. I keep thinking it’s just because I’m not eating enough but it still happens even after I eat and drink water.

What sucks even more is that when I have voiced my concerns about it, it has been brushed off. And I think it’s because everybody else doesn’t want there to be something wrong with me just as I don’t want there to be something wrong with me.

But I was exhausted. I didn’t want to deal with anything anymore. And that’s not what I want to feel. So yesterday, I tried something.

I just constantly said no. To doing anything that I didn’t have to do. I let my laundry sit for the day. My friend wanted to come over and I said no. She wanted me to come over and I said no. I didn’t sleep despite wanting to because my husband came home early and fell asleep before I could and one of us has to watch the little one.

But I made dinner (which felt like a long process in itself). My husband did the dishes for me without me really saying anything more than the fact that I have to do it after I was done with dinner. I poured myself some wine. Put the little one to bed. Took a shower. And then went to bed.

I slept in today. I don’t have to wake up early in the first place but I do it because I feel like I get more done. But today, I stayed in bed for an hour past my usual time.

And cats (that’s you guys), I feel better. I’m not a 100% because I still feel the tiredness behind my eyes and my lightheadedness has hit me while writing this but the edge has been taken off. I’ve only had to use my mommy voice three times on my little one in this past hour (she’s in full on toddler mode, which is a post for another time) and I’m about to get ready to go to the store without feeling like I’m chained to a heavy ball.

Self care, as I had already known but didn’t really KNOW, is more than just wine and face masks. Or Burger King on a cheat day. It’s taking literal time to just be alone. Be by yourself. Not do a damn thing beyond what you have to. Friends who are truly friends will be there the next day. Family who don’t get butt hurt easily, will still talk to you when you’re done healing yourself.

I know that last part sounds hippie but it is legit true. And the fact that I am a hippie at heart has nothing to do with it.

I am not sure how often I am going to feel like this or if the method that I did yesterday will work all the time but I’m just gonna have to try right?

Thanks for reading! Peace!

AND I would really like to know what ways you take time for yourself or things you find healing so that I can try new things out for myself beyond googling it! If you follow my blog, you already know how much I don’t like googling stuff, which is also another post for another time.

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Coffee Addict Much?

Pretty much anybody that knows me personally knows that I really love my coffee in the morning. If my little one isn’t awake before me (a rare and lovely event), brewing coffee is the first thing I do. Do I love it for the taste? Yes. I’m a no creamer type of girl unless I get it from the gas station. Do I love it because it makes me feel less dead? Definitely! Am I an addict when it comes to coffee? Probably.

I mostly joke about being addicted to coffee but I can’t deny that when I don’t have it for a few days straight, I start going through withdrawals. When I worked at Starbucks, we all would go through a coffee cleanse when we were having to put more shots of espresso into our already pretty caffeinated drinks. Like any addict will tell you, withdrawals suck (but I suspect that coffee withdrawals are not as intense).

Usually what happens first with me when I start my coffee cleanse is that my entire body feels tired, heavy. I can actually feel the bags under my eyes weighing down my face.There is something satisfyingly raw about that sensation that I never mind pushing through it (sounds odd I know). At least during the cleanse, I didn’t have trouble falling asleep at night (or as soon as I had gotten home).

The worst part of it (for me) are the tension headaches. They always started at the point where my skull meets my neck and radiated out. Sometimes they start by my temple making me wince or pull a face if it starts all of a sudden. I never took (and still don’t) any type of pain reliever because I used to be very stubborn about getting through the pain on my own (now it’s just because I wait until it gets really bad). The headaches last for only a few days during the cleanse and decrease in intensity over that time period. I usually didn’t notice when they stopped because no matter how bad a headache was, I still had to work.

Now the worst part of a cleanse for other people is the irritability that hit around the middle of it. Working in customer service was already a pain in the butt, a slowly decaffeinating me made it feel worse so I always had to try and keep it in check while at work. At home however, well, me and my sister would argue far more. My mum would call me a grumpy cat while I sat there with, you guessed it, a grumpy look on my face. Looking back on it, it was nice (annoying back then) to have a family that didn’t take me seriously during that time.

I would go on the coffee cleanse for about a month or so during slow season so that when busy season (summer, ending of fall, and winter) hit, my tolerance for caffeine was super low. I was able to drink coffee and get that amazing burst of energy that allowed me to do several things at once as well as deal with unruly customers with a large smile on my face.

Nowadays, the thought of going on a coffee cleanse is not welcomed. I most likely need to go on one since I’ve been drinking coffee (at least four mugs full) every morning since I stopped breastfeeding but I dread it. I ran out of coffee and couldn’t buy more for three days and all the withdrawal symptoms hit at once and oh lord almighty it sucked.

That’s actually more of a reason to go on a coffee cleanse for a while isn’t it?

Maybe I should start switching to tea for an energy boost. I will let you know if I do decide to make a switch and what it feels like.

Thanks for reading! Peace!

Sick Mommy Tips

It’s one of those weeks (honestly one of those months) where things aren’t going as smoothly as they could be and it’s frustrating. To add to the mounting stress, I’m sick. Fever, aches, cough, random moments of chills and heat, and tiredness are all the fun things my body is currently enduring.

I have always been one of those sick people that despite feeling like death, I would still go to school and, later on, work. I got this habit from my parents (but I hope to break the cycle with my children) so couple that with the fact that I am a mum, I have pushed my body a little beyond it’s limits.

This post is mostly about what not to do when you’re sick and have a little one to take care of as well as household chores that need to be done.

The biggest thing not to do is do not skip out on a meals just because you don’t feel hungry (unless you have food poisoning or the stomach flu because I don’t think eating anything except maybe crackers will be helpful). I tried to do that yesterday and my husband caught on when he realized I wasn’t snacking like I usually do. Eat something small. Ramen always does it for me. Its quick and with aching bones, it’s less of a chore to cook. If your budget allows, order food for you and your family (cuz nasal dripping into food is unavoidable unless you stick cotton up your nose). If it’s not in your budget, I do suggest microwaveable meals. Probably gonna get hate for that but at least my family’s stomachs are full.

Drink water but not only regular cold water. I don’t know about the rest of you out there but my body doesn’t like cold water when I’m running a certain amount of fever. It’s a little sore going down honestly. Also, I find water gross when I’m sick (water being gross is actually the first sign that I’m sick since I get hot easily and most of the other symptoms is what I have when my allergies start kicking my butt). So what I’ve been doing so I’ll keep drinking water and staying hydrated is that I make hot water through my coffee pot, pop a lemon slice into my mug and pour the hot water over it. The lemon is simply because I read that lemon water is good for you so why not drink it while I’m sick right? The heat from the water itself has been helpful with my throat and my cough.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. I swear I’m not yelling through the computer, just trying to emphasize an important point that I have spent most of my life ignoring and dealing with the consequences of. If you start to feel even a little faint, that means it’s time for a break from whatever thing you’re doing. Even if it’s standing. Grab your little one, put them in the room with you (hopefully you have less wires than I do) and just lay down for a bit. I think it’s okay for your little one to cry for a little bit if you put them in a play pen but that’s just me. Do what works for your little one so that you can just lay down for a little bit.

Definitely sleep when your little one sleeps. If you’re like me and can’t seem to sleep when your family does (which seems to be happening more and more often lately), just lay there for a bit. Or if you’re feeling up to it, do a little bit of the household stuff. Light stuff like dishes and laundry are good to do. Save the heavy stuff, like mopping or moving furniture around, for when you feel better.

Also, you don’t have to clean. Just for one day, just let everything go. You are a human being. You need to rest.

Obviously this post works mostly for stay at home parents. If you are working, I do suggest calling in perhaps on the worst day of the sickness. We’re already contagious a week before we start showing symptoms (or so my mum says) so there’s already a good chance you’ve infected the rest of your co-workers. But you’re not going to be able to get much done and you’ll risk yourself getting even worse if you don’t call in that day.

All in all, do what you feel you need to do when it comes to sickness. You know your body better than I do. This is just what helps me (even though I don’t always do it).

Thanks for reading! Peace!

Parent Talk: Needing Time

Since the very beginning of this journey of parenthood (like when I was still pregnant), I was constantly told (mainly by my mum) that I needed to take time for myself every once and while. That I’ll need time to myself, by myself. As a pregnant person, I agreed with my mum that I will do that because I understand what she was saying. Except I didn’t. Then when my little one came into the world, I couldn’t understand what my mum was talking about because every fiber of my being rejected the idea of being in a separate room from her.

Now it’s a year and a half later.

Needing time, I have found, doesn’t mean that I don’t love my little one any less than I had when she was born-maybe less deliriously. But I had felt that just the fact that I thought I needed time to just be by myself or with other human beings without my little one was like a betrayal to her (I’m a little dramatic). Besides, I was totally taking care of myself, I ate every day and drank water throughout so I was totally fine, right?

So despite the warning signs that my patience had started to grow thin, I pushed through not taking some time for myself. It wasn’t until one night when she was about four months old, she had woken up for the sixth time since I had put her down at ten and I was suddenly tempted to just drop her in her crib and letting her scream that I realized that I wasn’t taking care of myself like I told my mum I would.

I’ll say right here and now that I never thought I would have thought such a thing as dropping her before that night. Exhaustion took its toll and I had let it. I had tried to a be textbook stay–at-home wife and mother; you know, the one the media, sometimes our families and even our significant others at times try to push us to be? I tried to keep my house as clean as possible, mostly cleaning when the baby was napping, as well as trying to teach myself how to cook amazing dinners (my parents spoiled my sister and me by not letting us in the kitchen to do any cooking) so that my husband could be proud of me.

I shouldn’t have put such pressure on myself since I literally had no prior training on any of it. I literally went from a kind of financially stable, hardly any responsibilities besides work and a few bills type of life to a life of taking care of other human beings as well as being a military wife. I really should have given myself a transition period.

So what do I recommend when it comes to taking time for yourself? Sleep when the baby is asleep. If you can’t? Do something light to preoccupy yourself but can still relax while doing. Like reading. Or binge-watching Netflix. Or painting your nails and toenails. Or shaving. Or putting on a mask and laying down doing nothing but scrolling on your phone-if even that.

Your emotional and mental health will improve.

If you have trouble leaving things a mess like many people I know but are at your wit’s end, my suggestion would be to take still take a deep breath before you start cleaning. Cleaning small and lightly, room to room. I would always try to tackle the whole house at once and that never worked out the way I wanted. You can even light clean when the baby is awake. I have found (a little too late) that babies are great at preoccupying themselves when they’re not screaming for you. Which means you can do a light trash pick up or rearranging of things during those times.

Definitely ask your significant other for help. I didn’t ask mine for help in the beginning and he asked a few times only to meet my refusal and now? He spends a lot of his time playing video games and letting me know our child is doing something he doesn’t like so I need to get her to stop. Unfortunately, sometimes significant others are slow on the helping out part. I still ask him though when I’m tired from waking up with our little one throughout the night during her sleep regression cycles if he can watch her. He does it sometimes, for like ten minutes but it’s progress.

I can probably write an entire different post about dealing with a significant other who doesn’t think being a stay-at-home parent is at all a big deal (maybe I will one day) but for now I will leave it at this. Take care of yourself parents.

Thanks for reading! Peace!

Baby Talk: Sickness

There are a lot of websites and blogs that let you know the illness that your little one has by matching it up with the symptoms they’re showing. They’ll even let you know what you should watch out for in the first two years (up a five years) of your little one’s life. I love those websites.

But nothing beats going to the doctor for your baby when they’re sick. I’m usually filled with anxiety whenever my child is sick and while websites are awesome the assurance of a doctor is the only thing that calms the anxiety down a bit. I’ve been lucky to have gone to a pediatrician clinic that offer at-home remedies for when she has a small cold, a runny nose or just a cough alone.*

There is still things that throw me off a little bit. Like how when my little one is running a 101 degree fever (Fahrenheit), I actually shouldn’t bother calling the doctor’s unless it’s been steady for a day. Seriously? Yep, they say wait to call unless the little one is running at least a 104-105.

The reason that messed with my account brain is because growing up my mum would try to keep my fever under 102 and took me to the ER when it spiked to 103-104. Fevers are scary for me and my family.

If you’re like me and my family (and confused by the fever system) here’s a tide bit of advice when it comes to a little one’s fever: call the doctor’s office anyways.

I’m sure that’s going to seem annoying to the nurses and the doctors (I have heard the annoyance in a nurse practitioner’s voice) but I am still not 100% confident in my parental role especially when she gets sick. I need reassurance and I need to be told what I should do, even if it’s simple, nearly every time my little one has a fever for more than two days. I also know I’m not the only one because majority of my family is the exact same way.

Now when it’s day one of the fever, I like to try to see if it’ll ride out on its own because then it’s a Teething fever (I just love teething) and she’ll be fine. Day two, if the fever didn’t at least go down over night and starts spiking and her skin is burning to touch, I put a cool cloth or paper towel over her forehead and neck. She absolutely hates it but at least the fever will go down. I’ll also give her baby Tylenol or the fever killer that starts with M that I can’t remember right now. Day three, I’m calling the doctor’s office (if she hadn’t developed any other symptoms) or walking in as soon as they open (if she does develop a runny nose and a cough along with anything else). I take the doctor’s (or nurse’s) advice from there.

Just to put this out there so you all don’t think I’m running around with my hair sticking everywhere like a bad cartoon all stressed out with worry: I’m, outwardly, very calm when this is going on despite freaking out on the inside. Like I said, fevers are scary for me (simply because numerous things can be wrong with fever as a symptom). But the situation doesn’t get better from a freak out (though I know I’d probably feel a tad better from letting off a little steam).

Oh and you know what’s weird (besides the whole ride of parenthood)? Sleep disappears when my little one is sick but not in the same way as when her Sleep Regression cycles hit. I suddenly cannot sleep at night after she’s gone down. It’s like sleep isn’t part of my biological code anymore. Then sometime during the day I’ll crash when she does and the illusion is shattered.

Thanks for reading! Peace!

*For built up mucous (the little one’s cough will be an indicator), try using some honey (just teaspoon or a few squirts) mixed with warm water. For a stuffy nose, a warm damp cloth placed over the bridge of the nose (or dragged down over it) for about thirty seconds; the snot should be less crusty and solid after that and could be cleared (semi) by a nasal bulb.

Skin care struggle

I almost envy the simplicity of my husband’s body care routine. Mostly for his almost completely clear skin (tmi time: I’ve had acne since I hit puberty). Not only does not needing acne products leave more money in the bank, it also cuts down on the time spent in the bathroom.

It actually took until I became a mum to learn about all the skin and hair care I had been neglecting for years. I just recently found out (thanks to the toilet paper test) that I have normal-oily skin and only using acne scrubs had actually made the oil production worse by drying out my skin too much. Whaaaat?

I wish they had an elective on this stuff in high school. But at least we have Pinterest now. That is where I’ve learned majority of my skin, hair and nails knowledge.

Unfortunately everyone reacts differently to different products so I’m always double guessing what I should get. So far my favorite skin care routine is called No. 7. But since moving, I had left them at my parents house and have yet to find them in the stores where I’m currently living. The nearest Target is about thirty miles away and I don’t have the car to get it.

So I went onto a different line of skin care products.

I use the Aveeno lotion so after passing these products multiple times in the local store I decided to try it out. Daily scrub every morning, followed by the cleanser and finishing off with the daily moisturizer. Night time it’s the cleanser again followed by the intensive night cream.

I like the scrub because it just clears away whatever makes my skin look so dull in the morning. Just like it says on the bottle, my skin looks brighter afterwards. The foaming cleanser feels super light when I rub it onto my skin and I definitely feel cleaner after I wash it off and seal my skin with cold water. My skin also felt drier. Reading the warnings about drying out the skin too much, I go to the daily moisturizer. I’ve been putting on a thin layer but I think I will have to put more because my skin still feels dry ten minutes after.

My skin care routine is extremely short compared to what I should be doing to keep my skin healthy (like eye serum for example which I heard is a tired mum’s best friend) but I’m also on a budget. If only they made cheap but quality skin products so that I can feel pretty without breaking the bank.

The Aveeno products come out to about 11-15 bucks each depending on where you’re shopping. It’s not too bad compared to the pricing of some other products but it’s still not exactly cheap to be spending each time I run out.

I’ll most likely come back to this post in a few months and talk about the next round of products I’m using as the journey to outer beauty is never ending.

Thanks for reading! Peace!