9/23/2011

A Case of the Mondays

"Let us consider the way in which we spend our lives."  -Henry David Thoreau

I'm going to lay it all out there.  All the raw ugly of this week and how I got here...exhausted, disappointed in myself, and sacrificing precious sleep to get the words whirling around in my skull out on a screen in hopes that they will R.I.P.  Why air my embarrassing secrets on the worldwide web?  Because, this is my year long project to make increasingly better choices and habits to enrich my life, increase the good I do in this world, and feel/be/look a lot healthier.  That all starts, and can only continue, with frequent honest reflections on what IS...right now.

Right now, work is a cluster f-bomb.  Please excuse my near swear, dear readers...but there's no other way to put it.  I've had the beginning of anxiety attacks (which I've only experienced a handful of times before, but never at work) and nearly cried almost every day.  Why?  Well, I certainly will not bore you with the mundane intricacies of my career as an educator in an extremely under-funded, extremely high-needs school...but I will just say that every person in my building does the work of two or three people...and no matter how much you do, it's just never enough.  And at the end of the day, you're working your ass off, spread so thin that you can't really do anything well, knowing you're doing a crappy job, but not knowing how to make anything better and carrying the heavy knowledge that in the end it's just the kids and your health that pay the price.  

Muffins from today.  Don't worry, I gave them all to my
coworkers.  I did smell the crumbs though...is that weird?
I hit this wall every year.  Emotionally, physically, and mentally, I find myself in a place of hopeless, exhausted despair.  It's around this time when my good ol' crutches calm my mind, numb my emotions, and give me the energy to carry on.  The crash came early this year.  And as my "case of the Mondays" continued to Tuesday, then Wednesday, then Thursday...I began to drown in the old urges.  (Man, it was so easy to be crutchless when I wasn't stressed and sleep-deprived!)   Tuesday and Wednesday, I had to fight my brain, which was wheedling, "It's only ooooone cupcake, no one will even know!"  By the time school ended today, I was done.  Capital D.O.N.E.  I had a stream of pirate curses and not so choice "French" running constantly through my mind as I walked out my car.  My brain and body and stress-induced urges were screaming for alcohol, "just a bottle of wine...sit on the rooftop and drink till you're relaxed," that sneaky voice in my brain coaxed.

All the books waiting for some special one on one time with me.
They're so lonely. 
I didn't drink a bottle of wine nor did I eat a cupcake.  Kudos.  But, wait.  There's more.  I didn't take a nap either.  Or go for a walk and enjoy the sunshine.  I also didn't call a friend or read a bit more in the stack of amazing books I can't seem to find time to read.  I didn't clean.  I didn't get my oil changed.   Here's what I did with my 3 hours of free time.  I got a new wrinkle from scowling for 12 hours straight.  I canceled my workout.  I stopped at the store and bought my refined-sugar-free version of junk food:  frozen fruit sorbet, whipping cream, Ritz crackers, and provolone cheese.  I sat in front of the f-ing t.v. for two hours and ate that crap till I got a stomachache.  The even sadder part...I was watching the CrossFit games.  Yes, picture that my friends...it was a low moment.  So, finally my day has come to a close and I sit in front of my laptop, exhausted, disappointed, and pensive.  

Apparantly, just because I got rid of a few crutches, it doesn't mean I'm not going to crutch myself in other ways.  As I've found out during this uber stressful week, t.v. and unhealthy eating choices still serve as large crutches in my life.  So, when is it enough?  Technically, I'm following my plan of no caffeine, refined sugar, or alcohol...but I'm not "there" yet.  "There" meaning utilizing better habits that will result in a more balanced life and a healthy existence.  I also wouldn't mind getting rid of this 8-10 pounds of stress-eating/drinking that I've been carrying around the last nine months. 

Speaking of that...although I'm eating ten times better than I was before, I haven't lost  more than 2-3 pounds and maybe a half inch of my waist.  However, I feel a lot better day to day.  I rate my energy levels daily in my food/fitness journal and before "The Clean Year", I was around a 5-6.  Before this week, during the "clean days" my average has been 7-8.  But, frankly I'm pretty surprised that more physical changes haven't occurred.  I suppose, in view of that reality and my choices today, it's about time to get on my next challenge...positive-fying (<--yes, I made that word up too!) my next big crutch or two.

Since it's nearly ten-thirty and I still need to shower before I fall into my bed and sleep fitfully while dreaming vividly (as I always do when stressed), I will make this a "to be continued."  Look forward to a list of my identified crutches (get excited, it'll be like listening in on a juicy gossip sesh, or watching ridiculous reality t.v.) and a brief synopsis of a process I'm learning from the book, The Power of Less, which will structure my next steps on this crazy-ass journey.  Damn, I really thought I was home free before this week.  

Any words of wisdom?  What keeps you going when you're feeling stressed and running on an empty tank? 

4 comments:

~DAVe said...

I think writing is the best stress reliever. You can exhaust the body but you also need to empty your mind.

Tiffany said...

Dave - Thank you, and you are so right! I felt so much better last night after having written this li'l guy. I'm waking up with less than 8 hours of sleep but a much more positive mindset. =)

Danni said...

I was taught once to write down three positive things that happened at the end of each day. Sometimes it became redundant with things such as "I had clean clothes to wear today, I have a roof over my head" etc. But let me tell ya, it was nice to end everyday with a positive note. I started training my mind to remember the positive things, even though not everyday ended with rainbows and sunshine. Keep your pretty head up, Tiffany! You deserve more credit than you're giving yourself. I hope next week is better than last :)

Tiffany said...

Danni, yes! I love it, I'll give that a shot on my negative nelly days.