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.

Doing Something Nice

The world is a little crazy right now. Okay, let’s be honest. A lot crazy.

It’s enough to give anyone anxiety.

Between that and trying to figure out how to live our own lives in this craziness, it’s easy to worry about yourself quite a bit and forget that we live in a collective world that it’s nice to connect to. So much so that we forget that sometimes the best way to stop worrying is to do something nice for someone else.

The world could use more kindness right now. And we all could use some relief from the stresses that have been popping up.

I can’t remember the last time I did something nice for someone else. I’ve been pretty immersed in my own life. I do know that whenever I have put someone else first, I feel better about the world that we live in today. There is nothing like kindness to help reconnect us. We are able to relate to someone else even if we don’t know them. I know that when I start having intense anxiety about the way people seem to treat each other or have opinions that I don’t agree with, the best solution for me is to go out into the world. As soon as you feel others being kind towards you, it is enough to reassure that most people are still grounded and are just trying to live their daily lives as you are.

Think about how it makes you feel when someone does something nice for you when you least expect it.

Now, with that thought in your head, go out there and do something kind for someone else.

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.

How Can I Become That Girl Who Has Everything?

Sometimes, I go through this thing where I want things to change but honestly, I don’t want to do any work to change them. Then, occasionally, motivation comes along and I manage to actually work on making the changes to help me achieve my goals. But, seriously, does it ever just seem like some people have it easier than others?

I know that everyone has a story we don’t know about. Everyone has “stuff”. It’s not necessarily the same as ours but it is there and it is valid. But still, it seems like things just fall into some people’s laps. You know that guy/girl. That one who has everything. That one who hasn’t really had a day of trouble or stress. That one who seems to have gotten everything handed to them and all the obstacles are usually more of a formality.

It doesn’t quite feel fair. Some people seem to have the looks, the intelligence, the talent, the personality. Why do I feel like I was shorted out on one or more of those things?

So what do we do? How can we make our life better? Happier? Perfect?

I don’t know for sure but I’m guessing that even almost all of those people had to work to get to where they are at. So that’s what we have to do. Work at it. If you’ve seen some of my recent posts about post-childbirth, I do talk about how I’ve been dealing with a lot of changes in my life and finding myself again has been work. I have been trying to put in my time though.

Life isn’t fair. And it’s not going to just hand you everything you want. You also have to find a way to appreciate the things that you do have. It’s so easy to see what you’re missing but, sometimes, you have so much that another person might really want in their life. Somehow, we have to learn to value these little things that do make things good for us.

Something my sister-in-law once said to me that stays with me all the time is “You are exactly where you are supposed to be”. It helps to ground me and make sure that I remember to live in the moment. Then, I don’t keep trying to watch what other people are doing and I only enjoy what I’m doing instead.

Life can be hard for most of us. It involves a lot of change that sometimes is expected, sometimes unexpected. We can only keep trying to improve ourselves and find our own happiness wherever we can. Once I start doing that, I might start seeing myself as that girl who has everything.

What You Need To Survive Pregnancy (and much more)

All right. Let’s get down to it. I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted to talk about this in much more honest terms than you hear out there. So here we go.

Pregnancy is tough. There is so much you go through that only another woman can understand. You could have the nicest, most understanding significant other in the world (and I did) but there are times when he won’t understand what you completely feel. Things hurt, everything changes. I had morning sickness for the first 3 months. My legs ached literally from the beginning to the end. And that second trimester that everyone says is easier than the other 2, well, I spent that one worrying about all of the scans where the ultrasound specialists told me that various things could potentially be wrong.

The worrying kills you. Like I’ve mentioned before, you become a parent the second your pregnancy test turns positive. From then on, you watch what you eat, what you drink, what you do, all in the name of not hurting your unborn child. I stopped eating sushi, burgers, soft cheeses, and other various items. I googled every food I was unsure of.

Every doctor’s appointment I went to, I held my breath when I went in for the ultrasound. And I’d relax as soon as they found a heartbeat and took a look and said everything looked good. That would last for literally half a day and I’d start worrying about something else. I had a new pain or something felt different. I was definitely not one of those people who relaxed into pregnancy. I couldn’t even look at baby stuff and feel excited until I had hit somewhere over 30 weeks where I knew if needed, the baby could survive outside of me.

And then there was all the help from the ultrasound specialists. They are programmed to tell you the absolute worse case scenario (I’m assuming in order to avoid a lawsuit). I spent so much of my second trimester worrying about things that might be wrong like the placenta wasn’t doing its job or my baby wasn’t growing according to schedule. I learned a valuable lesson in how to think positively in this time frame because guess what. There’s nothing you can do at that point. You just have to think positive and move forward.

One of the biggest helps I have had is other women friends who have been pregnant. Every time I had a question or felt something new, I would text them and find out what they had been through. It helped me remain calm because I knew I wasn’t alone. There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to pregnancy. We all are just trying to survive it so that, at the end, we can hold our beautiful baby in our arms. I still text them with baby questions. And luckily, I’m surrounded by a bunch of great women who don’t judge or think there is one way to do everything. So I definitely get the best advice possible.

Let’s face it. Pregnancy is tough. The best thing you can do for yourself is to make sure you have a great support system. An amazing husband goes a long way but you will also definitely need friends who have gone through it so that they understand what you’re feeling and can truly empathize with you. It’s a long 40 weeks. Do what you can to make those weeks as good as possible.

Is Marriage the Ultimate Goal?

I keep hearing that there are girls on their 20s to their early 30s who keep getting pressured to get married.  It’s amazing to me that anyone would pressure such a big decision like marriage onto someone.  

I’ve had discussions with women about this.  I really believe that your 20s is the time to really discover who you are.  You have the freedom to do whatever you want if you’re willing to stand up for yourself against those who are pressuring you.  

I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with getting married in your 20s. Many of my friends have done it and have had successful marriages.  I just think knowing yourself and what you want is really important.  If you don’t know yourself,  how do you know who will complement you? 

The other thing I think is why is there such a rush to get married?  Marriage doesn’t solve your problems.  If you find the right person and that is what you want,  then go for it.  But if you’re looking to solve the problem if having someone wanting you or feeling lonely or feeling like you should be married because that’s the thing to do,  then maybe more thought needs to go into the decision.  

Until you are truly happy with yourself,  how can you be happy with someone else?  No one has magic powers to make you happy.  And it’s not their job.  It’s your job to make yourself happy. 

So what do you do until you find that person? 

Live.  Have fun.  Travel the world.  Follow your passions.  I’m not saying that you can’t do this once you get married.  Hopefully,  you marry someone who can do all this with you.  But why wait for them to do it all?  

Marriage isn’t a goal.  It’s just something we do when the person and the circumstances are right.   It’s not something we have to stop living our own lives for.  

Have fun,  not stress,  in marriage.  

 

To Be Free

There are people who seem to glide through life just going with the flow. They seem so relaxed and nothing really seems to stress them out. This could be perception but I honestly believe there are people who really are able to just hang out and enjoy their experiences.

And there are some of us who stress at every turn, who let every little thing get to us, who are bothered by so many things. We can’t seem to relax and just enjoy the moment. We worry if things are going too fast or if things are going to slow. There isn’t a moment of peace for us. 

How do we achieve this peace? I know some suggestions are working out, yoga, meditation. It requires great discipline to be able to put your mind in the right place so that this is something is able to be achieved. But it’s a constant struggle. It definitely doesn’t come easy. 

Calming the mind, being free of your every day thoughts is a place that I strive to get to. It’s amazing how much power your thoughts have over your every day life. It affects your moods, your energy, your interactions with others, even your interaction with yourself. And it definitely affects your health. 

Positive thoughts are another challenge completely. To be able to really believe in the best of people and to be able to see the world as a beautiful place even when there are challenges is an amazing quality to have. 

Here’s a day dedicated to trying to free yourself from the confines of your mind. I want to try to just enjoy my surroundings and really admire the miracles that are occurring constantly in our world.

I want my mind to be free.