new year

Reflecting on 2019 and Looking Forward to 2020

Well here we are… we made it to the first Friday of 2020 and it feels like a Tuesday somehow. I have been meaning to post for quite some time now. I have 14 incomplete blog posts in my drafts folder. From topics like burnout, the Ontario Autism Program chaos, food ideas, and most prominently – posts about my mental health, they were abandoned.

A couple months ago, I had an uncomfortable discussion (to say the least) about some of my posts and the personal content I was posting. So I stopped. Cold turkey. I couldn’t bring myself to write anymore, despite it being a large outlet for me. Maybe in 2020 I will again share things about my mental health journey but until then, the feelings I share may come across as vague.

Reflecting on 2019

Wow, 2019 was a shit show. There, I said it. I went through phases of not knowing whether or not I would have a job, the fate of my clients and other children with ASD, and I started the unraveling of repressed emotions through therapy.

But let’s start with my old “resolutions.” My 2019 resolutions were something along the lines of this:

  • Do (at least) one thing a week for me and just me. This may include saying no to an added responsibility or an act of self-care.
    I did great at this! I did a lot of saying no and taking time for me. I went to therapy at least once a month. I had baths, I did yoga, I laid on the couch and binge-watched Grey’s. This is something I want to continue to do in 2020. Self-care is essential for the soul.
  • Do (at least) one thing a week that improves my relationships with others. Maybe this is texting a friend I haven’t talked to in a while to see how they are doing.
    I feel like this was not my strong-suit in 2019. Especially when the Ford government blew up my career field, I said no a lot to things my friends wanted to do because I was unsure of what the future held. I didn’t go to my Master’s graduation. I kept in contact with my closest friends. But otherwise, I was not good at staying in touch with others, and for that, I am sorry. I will try to be better in 2020.
  • Take better care of my mental health, especially due to the toll it has taken on my physical health in the past year.
    This time last year, I had shingles and that was one of the worst experiences of my life. This past year, I did prioritize my mental health more. Going back to therapy was a very positive step forward for me and I look forward to continuing this going forward. My physical health was MUCH better this year! I battled some recurring stomach problems where going to the doctor made me feel frustrated and helpless. For now, taking probiotics seem to be keeping the pain and discomfort under control and I have otherwise (knock on wood) felt fine.

Looking Forward to 2020

I don’t really have any “resolutions” for 2020 outside of the items listed above. I feel so proud of the progress I am making and the person I am becoming.

May you all have a blessed new year!

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The First Monday of 2019

Happy New Year, everyone! Today is the first Monday of 2019. A new year, a new set of goals, and new opportunities.

I tried to write a post last week about the things I learned in 2018 and I could not bring myself to finish.

To my friends and family I did not get to see much of in 2018, I am sorry.

I was rotten at returning text messages. I didn’t attend as many events as previous years. I shut myself out. It was truly a year of self-care and introspection.

To be honest, my mental health took a bit of a dive in 2018. I had panic attacks in the frequency and intensity as I used to have when I was first diagnosed in 2012. It scared me. I felt as weak as I did back then, times. I tried to push through it. But everything just felt so busy. In the past year, I worked full time, was in school part time, both completing my master’s thesis and then starting coursework, and trying to balance other responsibilities. I made it through, relatively unscathed. And now, I’ve been trying to reframe my overwhelming schedule as passionate ambitions.

Old Resolution: Social Media
One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to post less on social media. On my personal instagram, I posted about 80 times this year which works out to be about 6.9 times per month or 1.6 times per week. I liked not posting much on social media. However, when I would see people I hadn’t seen in a while, they would often say to me, “wow, it seems like you’ve been up to a lot of exciting things lately!” And naturally, I’d laugh and agree.

I, along with other millennials, embellish things on social media. No one posts the bad stuff on social media. On my blog page (@frompanictoplate), I have posted some more honest pictures and quotes, and honestly, that was refreshing. It was also comforting to have people inbox me and share their experiences and feelings with me. While social media can feel embellished and fake at times, sharing some of the vulnerable parts of yourself, the real parts of yourself, can be empowering.

New Resolution: Goals For Me and For Others
Something I started in the last quarter of 2018 was to say no to one extra responsibility a week. This meant saying no if asked to work an extra shift in an already busy week or maybe not doing the “suggested” reading for school so I could make more time for myself.

To continue this in 2019, I want to instead do (at least) one thing a week for me and just me. This may include saying no to an added responsibility or an act of self-care.

I also want to do (at least) one thing a week that improves my relationships with others. Maybe this is texting a friend I haven’t talked to in a while to see how they are doing. Maybe it’s making plans with someone for a coffee or other inexpensive outing.
I want to do better. I want to be a better friend.

Mental Health Meets Physical Health

A goal I would like to especially prioritize this year is taking better care of my mental health, especially due to the toll it has taken on my physical health in the past year. I was sick quite a bit and not just like, a little cold here and there. I had laryngitis (at least twice), one of the most painful UTIs I have ever experienced, and now, I am writing this while on the couch wincing at the overwhelming pain that comes with shingles.

To avoid feeling like this in the future (or ever again), I know I need to take care of myself and not push myself because I “like being busy.” I am learning to accept that taking care of myself is not selfish.

So here is to a new year and new exciting opportunities for growth and to make memories with those we love. 6fe48211174875e2cc330edb2519d971.jpg

Whole 30 Day 1

As New Years comes to a close, I must also say goodbye to some of the things I love the most: wine and cheese.

Welcome to my exciting journey to refresh the soul during Whole 30. What is the Whole 30? See my last blog post to learn more about it.

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Why am I doing Whole 30? (In no particular order)

  1. With stress eating and the holidays, I have not only gained weight, but I have created and re-created some bad habits with food. I want to create new habits and break (and more importantly identify) old habits.
  2. To boost my confidence – the amount of self control it takes to cut out grains, dairy, soy, sugar, legumes, and alcohol is immense! To know after the 30 days that I have been able to control what I eat and eat clean will make me feel amazing.
  3. To break the emotional connection with food. I don’t want to grab a bag of chips because I’m overwhelmed by all of the things on my to-do list. Or drink that glass of wine.
  4. To learn to cook a variety of clean eating recipes
  5. To improve my body image.

What I Ate Today:

Breakfast: Diced potatoes with onions, garlic, and eggs.

Lunch: Cucumbers dipped in guacamole (I didn’t have time to meal prep yesterday – oops).

Dinner: Baked tilapia with red pepper relish (see below) with a side salad – loosely based on the Whole 30 Recipe in the Whole 30 Book (p. 242)

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How I’m Feeling:

  • I craved chocolate today. And chips. I resisted.
  • I have been so thirsty despite the large amount of water I’ve drank today
  • Proud of myself for preparing lunch for the week! (Whole 30 chilli)
  • I have a bit of a headache currently but I am diffusing some essential oils and ready to tackle the next thing on my to-do list.