Floating

How many of you are currently living inside of your heads? No matter what’s actually happening, you are just floating through your day to day. You get through each day, functioning, doing your daily tasks but not really living in the present.

Has anyone else started worrying or thinking more about every day things that you wouldn’t have considered before? (“Started” might be the wrong word since covid has been going on for over a year now.) The slightest things I wouldn’t have noticed before stress me out now. Allergies, pain anywhere, a change in anything.

I recently looked up the timeline of the flu of 1918 to find out when things would feel a little bit more normal again. The article I read said that by spring of 1920, it was like it never happened. Overall, it doesn’t seem too bad, 2- 2.5 years of dealing with masks and quarantining. But living through it is harder than sounds. Every step we take is filled with worry and stress. The “what ifs”, the “is this the right choice”, the “should we” haunt us every day and every day after that.

We are living with loneliness even with a house full of people, the personal and professional sacrifices that some of us have made in order to deal with schooling and full time caretaking, and the lack of freedom that comes with thinking about what is necessary for the good of the community. The things that would have alleviated these feelings in the past are not options in the current state of society. The events and celebrations that we would have looked forward to have all but disappeared. We float.

It’s emotional and mentally exhausting. It’s surviving and dealing with small pieces of joy that are incredibly difficult to see. It’s feeling like things will never be okay again. It’s putting one foot in front of the other, while feeding your family, making sure they are safe and mentally okay, and giving them what they need to at least survive, if not thrive. And, in the end, what will each of us be left with?

I’m ready to get my feet back on the ground and move forward. I don’t want to float anymore.

The Art of Being Still

I have this itch to do something. I’ve had this itch for a long time, probably around the time I became a stay-at-home mom to 2 kids. There is an intense feeling that I should be out in the world doing something, accomplishing something.

I read this quote today and it resonated with me:

“Crazy-busy is a great armor, it’s a great way for numbing. What a lot of us do is that we stay so busy, and so out in front of our life, that the truth of how we’re feeling and what we really need can’t catch up with us.” – Brene Brown

It got me wondering if that’s what I’m doing. Am I trying to do something so I stay ahead of what I’m feeling? Do I need to accomplish something so that I feel validated as a person? I feel like I have been numb for a while. I haven’t felt the ups and downs like a regular person would. It might be that I’m protecting myself from feeling at all.

What if I were to stop trying to force the issue for a bit? What if I were to just stay still and really figure out what’s going on with me? What if I were to let the armor down?

It’s a scary thought.

I also wonder if I’m the only one. How many other people are trying to stay super busy so they don’t have to think, to feel? What if we slowed down for a minute? Would it allow us to see who we truly are?

Being South Asian Indian, we are especially regularly busy. We have so many social events that we plan our events months or even years in advance. Is it a good thing to have that community or does it just add the busyness? Is there a balance you can achieve where you have the space to discover yourself but enough people around you to have the support you need?

The next thing I wonder about is if will it be disappointing to see myself at a stand still.  What if I don’t like who I am without the cover of busyness? Will it even reveal something? It feels overwhelming to just stop. How do you discover who you are and what you’re feeling? How do you handle what you find out? What is okay? What will I find okay?

I’m up for the challenge because I’ve been trying to forcing myself to find something to accomplish for a while now. I want to slow down and let the universe reveal the path I’m supposed to take. It might be easier even if I have to face things about myself I don’t like.

Let me know your stories if you have ever tried this before. I’d love to know.

 

 

 

 

Health Insurance Is Not A Guarantee Of No Stress

I am epileptic. I have given birth twice. I am a normal person.

Yet, one of the things that causes me the most stress in this life is my health insurance.

Unfortunately, I have a chronic condition. It’s not an option. I’m lucky enough that I can afford insurance. I’m lucky enough to be able to control my condition. I’m lucky enough to have a simple enough solution to handle it.

Dealing with insurance, however, makes the condition feel worse than it is. There are constant problems with meeting all the requirements to get the medicine I need to control the condition. The insurance doesn’t talk to the pharmacy, the pharmacy doesn’t talk to the doctor, the doctor can’t talk to the insurance. It’s like I need to conference call all of them constantly to make everything function smoothly.

In the past 4 months, I have had to deal with it all at least 3 times. For a month, I was constantly calling the insurance company, the pharmacy, and my doctor to get all the paperwork in order so I could continue to get the medication that I’ve been on for 13 years.

Why is it so hard? Why can’t something that should be so basic be easier? I’ve definitely read that it’s easier in other countries. I do realize that the insurance industry is a for-profit business and this is a way to make money. Why is that the case though? Shouldn’t our healthcare be a necessity, not a luxury? Shouldn’t we be able to get what we need without stress? Isn’t getting sick stressful enough?

I hope I get to see things get easier in the insurance world in my lifetime. I don’t know how this country can untangle the mess that it is. I don’t even know if the people in charge want to.

All I know is that it’s frustrating that in addition to whatever our bodies and minds are going through on a regular basis, we have to add a good dose of stress to it.

High Anxiety

Anxiety. It’s one of the most normal and most difficult things to deal with. It can mess with your mind and really affect your overall well-being.

According to the dictionary, anxiety is “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”

I don’t think I recognized how much anxiety I experienced when I was younger. And it got worse as I got older. I’d sit with all of these negative thoughts in my head without a way to move past them.

It’s not just me either. My sisters and I frequently discuss the anxiety we feel on a daily basis. We discuss what is triggering it and how to deal with it. I believe as we get older, we are more aware of the consequences of our actions and the uncertainty that surrounds making the choices we do.

I find that the best way for me to deal with it immediately is to breathe. I need to get rid of the butterflies and nervousness that is sitting in my stomach. Then, I write. I write about what I’m feeling until it’s out of me. Finding a solution sometimes isn’t the goal. The goal is to realize that no matter what I’m feeling that it will work out. Sometimes, we just have to wait out what we are feeling anxious about. If it’s something I can resolve immediately, I work on it but a lot of times, it’s just the fear of the unknown.

We ave to find a way to trust that we will be okay. There will always be a way to figure out how to feel better. It’s just a matter of not succumbing to the emotions at the moment and feeling despair. You have to just realize that the immediate feeling isn’t what you will be feeling for the rest of your life. It will pass. You just need to find a way to navigate through it.

It won’t be easy especially when you’re in the middle of an anxiety attack. Find your support. Find your breath. Find a way to get to the other side of it.

The First Thing To Go Out The Door

Self-care.

As a mother, I think this is the first thing that we abandon when we have kids. Our priorities shift enough that the order of important is the following: kids #1-however many and our partner, work, home, extended family, the world, everything else, ourselves.

We forget we exist until we run ourselves down enough that there is only a shell of our former selves left. Then, all of a sudden, we are locked in a bathroom, crying our eyes out because this isn’t the life we imagined.

We have to take care of ourselves. If we don’t feel good about ourselves, then how can we be a good example for our kids?

I’m not only talking about the physical stuff like showering, grooming, exercising. We have to take care of ourselves mentally and emotionally. We have to take that time in the day where we can focus on ourselves.

Doing all of this other stuff is wearing. It’s tiring. It’s hard to refocus on yourself. When I finally get a few minutes of quiet, I just sit there and stare into the abyss. Okay, the abyss in reality is the tv. It’s like I forget how to function. I can’t even think of what I’d want to do for myself. If I do figure it out, I don’t have the energy.

It’s easy to get caught up in resentment and anger when you get used to putting yourself last. As a South Asian Indian mom, I’m programmed to put myself last. I’m supposed to put my kids and husband first. And every time I feel neglected, I end up feeling a mixture of sadness and anger.

The thing is that you have to find the solution. Your kids are never going to put you first and your partner can only help so much. You have to find the time and energy to do things for yourself. You have to be okay with putting yourself first sometimes. You have to find ways to take care of yourself.

If you have any self-care tips, I’d love to hear them. I am always looking for new ways to take care of myself.

Interest Myself In Me

I know Facebook skews people’s lives so that their seem more interesting than the day in, day out probably is in reality. I’m aware that everyone can’t possibly have a glamorous life where they travel all the time and achieve major accomplishments every other day. Everyone works on a daily basis in some capacity whether it’s a job or being a stay at home parent. I know as well as the next person there are ups and downs in everything.

So then why do I feel so boring? I know that this is a phase in my life where my focus isn’t on myself. I know that raising my kids is important. I know that even if it feels like nothing, getting through each day with them is a big deal.

Still, I wish I was doing something alongside raising my kids that was more interesting. Maybe it’s more that I need to feed my soul. As corny as that may sound, I need to keep myself more well-rounded to make me happy. It’s still work-life balance. It’s a little bit skewed to work right now since my kids are so young but I need to add more life back in so that I don’t feel one-sided.

I remember, before kids, if I ever felt boring, I would try to find something that made me interesting to myself. Granted, my time is a little more limited now but I want to maintain this practice. I want to feel like I can accomplish things. I want to be able to set goals and know what it feels like to achieve them. It might be harder now but I think it’s important for my own mental and emotional health to try.

What do you do to keep yourself interesting? What are your goals and passions?

Being Alone and Being Lonely

I moved. I knew I had to move. I didn’t expect it though. I moved across the country while being 15 weeks pregnant. I moved because my husband got a job. It was between the job we took near family or a job in the south where we knew nobody. I miss home. I don’t even know where home is anymore. My nearby family members have a life of their own so we’re not having the family gatherings I envisioned before moving here. We moved to a seasonal town that’s empty till it’s warm. There isn’t much of a community to meet or interact with even though I’m actively trying to make friends.

I had a baby in the middle of winter. I tell my husband everyday how much I don’t like it here. That combined with my post partum hormones the isolation and loneliness has really sunk in. My husband is a typical male, a solution-focused individual who wants to help but doesn’t understand completely. How can he understand? He doesn’t know what it’s like to have a baby, be tethered to a baby, and be at home all day day in and day out.

Complaining or venting also isn’t how you want to start new friendships and having a new baby makes it difficult to talk to the old ones.

And each day passes. My husband is tired of hearing me complain. This affects our married which affects me. This all becomes part of a self-fulfilling prophecy of me saying if we didn’t move here I would be upset and if I wasn’t upset I wouldn’t complain and if I didn’t complain then it wouldn’t affect our marriage. And the days go on.

Is it me? Do I just not know how to be happy? Should I be thinking of starving children in developing countries or war and destruction and be happier? Are my problems so first world? I have my health, we are financially comfortable, and I have a beautiful baby. I don’t know.

Yeah, It’s Out Of My Control

We, Indians, are perfect. No, really, we are. We are all intelligent, beautiful, and successful.

Ok, let’s talk reality. No one is perfect. Yes, we might have a lot going for us.

However, there is a lot of us have things that we don’t talk about much, things that are out of our control. Many of us have a weakness that we don’t advertise. But it’s there.

My weakness is epilepsy. Unless you’ve seen me popping my medication or have actually seen me drop into a seizure randomly, you probably don’t know that I have epilepsy.

It is super frustrating for me because while I know the triggers, I hate having to change my life to cater to my condition. I do take care of myself though because I don’t have a choice. That doesn’t mean I don’t slip every so often.

My most recent seizure happened during my sister’s wedding weekend. I was lucky that one of my sister’s friends knew what to do. I woke up, got ready, and went to my sister’s wedding rehearsal.

My other sister asked me why it didn’t bother me that it happened. I told her later that it did. But I had 2 choices at the time. I could sit and dwell on it and be upset it happened or I could move on and enjoy the weekend.

We all have something or we will have something at some point in our life. And we can curse our bad luck or we can accept that this is our reality. We can figure out how to live with it. We can ask for help if we need to.

There is no shame in anything that affects your health, whether it be physical or mental. We are human.  There is a lot we have to deal with. And absolutely everyone has something that they can’t control. Everyone has something that takes work, that we have to adjust to. Dealing with epilepsy didn’t just take a neurologist. It took a therapist as well.

Yes, it sucks. I’ve felt that over and over again. I probably will be taking medication to control the seizures for a long time. But since I don’t have an option in the matter, I can only learn to have a good attitude about it. I can be upset or I can have fun.

And I choose to have fun.

 

Yes I’m Vain….But It Keeps Me Healthy

When I was 15, my metabolism quit. Like it got up and said “F*** you” and left. Prior to that, I was a super skinny kid and didn’t really worry about what I ate. After that, it’s like everything I ate just stayed on me. I ended up at around 130 pounds at the time. For a 5’2″ girl, there’s nowhere for that weight to really go that will look attractive. I wasn’t consistently athletic at the time so it wasn’t even muscle weight.

Now take a look around you. Take a look at yourself. Are you in shape? Are you taking care of yourself? Are you being healthy?

If the answer (the honest answer) is no, join the club. There are way too many of us out there that aren’t taking care of ourselves. The American Heart Association recommends walking around 10,000 steps or 5 miles per day. This is hard. I bought myself a Fitbit because I thought I must be easily hitting this number daily chasing my kid around plus working out once a day but nope. I still have to take another walk and really push my activity levels to hit this number. I rarely ever reach 5 miles. It’s frustrating.

After my metabolism quit, it took me another 6 years to come out of denial that I couldn’t just eat what I want and not work out and look like how I wanted. I always wanted to have the perfect body. I’ve always been a perfectionist. And somehow I thought that it would just come to me without me having to work for it.

One day, I looked at a picture of myself and saw how I looked in a shirt I really liked. It felt awful. I realized that I wasn’t just going to magically get into shape. It was, at the moment, I decided that I didn’t want to feel like that again. I joined a gym and started counting calories. I lost a ton of weight and not only was working out regularly but had joined a professional dance team so I was dancing regularly. I felt stronger and healthier.

I’m writing this because when I look around me and see so many people who don’t seem care, it’s frustrating and scary to me. My metabolism quit early and it took me 6 years to figure out what to do about it. But, mine quit earlier than it does for a lot of others. For those of us who are entering our 30s and inching towards our 40s, there are things that won’t work as well as they did before. We are at higher risk for health problems if we don’t start taking care of ourselves as soon as possible.

I’m sure a lot of you are thinking that you like the way you look or you’ve accepted your bodies for what it is. I applaud that. Here’s the thing. We don’t have to have the perfect bodies but we shouldn’t be treating our bodies like trash cans either. We don’t have to not enjoy food but we shouldn’t ignore the consequences of what we are eating as well. The point is that we aren’t eating healthier and exercising to look like supermodels. We are doing it so we feel better about ourselves. We are doing it so we can be there in the future to take care of our children. We are doing it so we don’t miss out on something just because we thought it was too much work when we were younger and couldn’t be bothered.

Unfortunately, I see way more people around me who don’t care than do. I hope they realize that change starts when you take the action to change. I’m hoping that most people understand that those who are physically fit really work hard at it. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Even for those people who are naturally thin, they have to watch what they eat and work out so they don’t end up with other health issues. In the end, we should all feel better about ourselves not only physically but emotionally.

Exercising and eating right does wonders for your mind and soul as much as your physical body. For me, it’s a coping mechanism. It helps my stress levels stay down and for me to deal with whatever problems happen in my life. It also boosts my confidence levels regardless of what I look like or how I’m feeling at the moment. There are plenty of times I’ve gone into a dance practice or work out feeling down or mad and 3o minutes later, I will feel really good about everything because I just needed to take a break from my mind and focus on my physical activity instead.

There are plenty of groups and articles to help you learn how to take care of yourself if that is where you are stuck. This is something I really believe in (even if I slip up every so often and eat a bag of jelly beans myself or have more alcohol than I probably should have). I hope you will be inspired to take the step to treat yourself with the respect you deserve.

Be Present In The Present

I turned 38 this past week. It’s not a huge milestone but 37 was a little bit rough on me so I’m glad to have this chance for things to move forward. I’m hoping that I can do a completely reset so that I have a chance to enjoy everything I have and not keeping worrying about the things that aren’t in my control.

It’s so hard not to look into the future and just be in the present. Anxiety, stress, panic attacks. These are all things that affect the way we live and contribute to our overall health and well-being. As soon as I take care of one task, my mind starts worrying about the next thing that needs to be done. There’s never a moment off, a moment to relax.

It’s my fault. I put this on myself even when I don’t need to. How do people manage stress in their daily lives? How do you not let the every day affect you in a negative way? How do you find a way to trust that everything will always work out?

There are people in this world that seem to always be able to go with the flow. They are able to quiet their minds and breathe and be here. They seem to find beauty in everything around us. They seem to be able to not stress or worry about the things that are currently happening elsewhere.

I think a part of the problem is that we are always looking at our phones and trying to see what is going on everywhere else. I think that we have started to do it so automatically that we don’t even notice that we are doing it anymore. It might be time to put my screen down and force myself to be in the moment. It might be time to not have to rely on my screen for entertainment. It might be time to be able to look up and really see what is happening in the world around us.

I think it takes an active effort to stop looking towards the future and really try to find the things here and now that bring us joy. Find the things that really make us feel good here. Find the things that inspire you to bring out the best you.