New Year, Same Old Me

I’m a little late to the resolution game this year, which is pretty appropriate as a reflection of 2016. In all honesty, I didn’t follow through on a lot of things I planned to do this year. While some goals were met intermittently, others were completely missed or forgotten about. 2016 was a year of transition and change. Through that transition a lot of wonderful, positive things and changes happened, but some things were also left behind.

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It’s not Fall without Pumpkin Muffins

Fall is without a doubt my favorite time of year. With the heat and humidity of our summer, we spent more time inside than I would have liked. I guess us Northerners can’t take the heat! The cool weather we are having now is a nice break from all that, so we have been heading outdoors for all of my favorite fall activities. The fresh air, the breathtakingly beautiful changing of the leaves, and pumpkin flavored everything help make this time of year so special for me.

When Jack was sick last weekend, his sleep schedule was way thrown off. On Sunday morning, he woke up at 4:45am and was ready to start his day. Since I stayed up late to watch the end of the Ohio State football game, I was not quite ready to be awake that early, and wasn’t in the best mood.

So we went through our morning routine, played for a little bit, and when I started to get hungry, I decided to do something to turn my mood around and bake some muffins for breakfast. I have always enjoyed baking, but in the last year or so both baking and cooking have become great sources of self-care, comfort, and pleasure. I think being able to feed my child home made meals has really contributed to why I am enjoying it so much more. 

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7 Days of Self-Care: Day 7

We’ve come to the end of the week focusing on self-care. Each day I focused on a different way to practice taking care of mental, emotional, and physical health (you can follow along from day one here), and my 7 topics don’t come close to how many ways you can take care of yourself. I chose the highlight some of my favorites, or things that have been incredibly helpful for me.

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When I first became a mom, obviously, all of my focus went to taking care of Jack. This gives me an immense sense of joy, but “mom” quickly became my identity. It’s gotten a lot better, but my anxiety makes it very hard for me to spend time away from Jack, so for awhile I was missing out on everything I used to do and enjoy.

I’ve slowly been working to reincorporate hobbies back into my routine. By doing so, I feel like I’m reconnecting to Kate, and not just being mom. As I talked about yesterday, I’m back to doing yoga. I started reading a book I got from the library last week. My parents came over to watch Jack after work last week, and I was able to go to an evening Crossfit class for the first time since before Jack was born. I’ve even discovered that I actually really like cooking and experimenting with new recipes. I was always a fan of baking instead of cooking, so this is a new hobby for me!

It’s been awhile since we have gone hiking, I would like to start doing more of that. This is the perfect time of year for hiking too. I used to color in adult coloring books, ride my bike, and crochet. It’s exciting to know that I am in a place now where if I want to go back to these things, I will. I can now more easily say I’m going to go ride my bike for a half hour and leave the boys home to hang out.

I’m getting back to the things I enjoy, the things that make me feel like me, and it’s pretty great. This series was only 7 days long, but I truly feel like I have improved myself by being purposeful about what I am doing to take care of myself. I hope that if you’ve been reading along, you have been inspired in some way to take care of yourself more or in new ways. Thanks for sticking with me through this.

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7 Days of Self-Care: Day 6

“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” – The Bhagavad Gita

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My self-care focus for today is yoga. Yoga includes physical activity and deep breathing, two other topics in this 7 day series, but for me it needs to be something that stands on it’s own.

I have had a long and inconsistent relationship with yoga. One of those on again, off again relationships (except this one is actually a healthy relationship). I’ll do it consistently, then only every once in awhile, with no rhyme or reason to when I do or don’t practice. 

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7 Days of Self-Care: Day 5

I am a big believer that mental health and physical health impact each other. When one improves, the other tends to follow along. That’s why, at least for me, taking care of my physical health is such a big part of self-care.

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A few days ago, my self-care focused on physical activity. Today, my focus is on healthy eating. Before I say anything else, I want to explain what healthy eating means to me. As an eating disorder therapist, I may have a different definition of what healthy eating is than others do. 

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7 Days of Self-Care: Day 4

Welcome back to my series, 7 Days of Self-Care. We are on Day 4 now, so if this is the first post of the series you are seeing, check out Day 1 and follow along with all 7 days.

Day 4 – Focus on the positive

Our thoughts are powerful things. They have the ability to change how we feel, and influence how we behave. As a therapist who uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which focuses on challenging negative thoughts to positively impact our feelings and actions, I recognize the impact of thoughts constantly in myself and my clients. I know how devastating dwelling on negative thoughts can be for me. If you’re interested in learning more about this, check out this post

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7 Days of Self-Care: Day 2

Welcome back to my 7 day series on self-care, where each day I am focusing on something I can do to take care of my mental, emotional, and physical health. We all deserve to take time for ourselves, but it’s not always the easiest thing to do. So often, especially as parents, we put everything and everyone ahead of ourselves and we suffer as a result. There are so many things that I “need” to do. I am working on thinking of self-care as an equally important priority.

Yesterday, I focused on deep breathing. I had multiple opportunities to practice, which was great! It was easy to practice during a yoga video, or on a walk. It was more challenging to remember to practice when having a stressful conversation, or anticipating a phone call I was anxious about making, but those are the times when it is so important to breathe deeply! By practicing deep breathing, I was able to stay present in the conversation and manage my anxiety about making the phone call. 

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7 Days of Self-Care: Day 1

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Welcome to my 7 days of self-care series. During the next week, I will be focusing daily on ways that I practice self-care, to take care of my mental, emotional, and physical health. I’m purposefully starting this on a Friday because it’s always easy for me to get away from self-care when I’m on a busy weekend schedule. This mama puts herself last when a lot is going on! I also think that the accountability of making this a series will help me get back on track with taking care of me, and get me closer to making all of the behaviors I practice this week more of a hair. So let’s get started!

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Making time for me

One of my main purposes for starting this blog was for self-care. To help take care of my own mental health, to write about challenges I am facing, to motivate me to keep up with health and fitness goals, and to join a community of supportive women and parents.

Over the past month or so, I have gotten way off track. I’ve had many distractions (mostly positive) and disappointments (obviously, negative) that I have let push me away from the purpose I described. The distractions have been temporary: going on vacation, activities as a family, time off from work. These are the things where I thought I’d get right back to my goals after. Then the disappointments roll in and I feel anxious and depressed, and my well intentioned plans get pushed to the back burner. Immediately after putting the baby to bed, I move to the downstairs couch where my evenings are unproductive and do nothing but facilitate further sinkage into feeling negatively overall.

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Don’t Believe Everything You Think: Part 2

Welcome back to part 2 of my series on cognitive restructuring

Just a reminder: cognitive distortions are automatic, negative thoughts. They are typically inaccurate and influence your emotions and behaviors if left unchallenged. I wrote about a few types of cognitive distortions that popped in my head as I was rushing out of my messy house last week.

If you’ve spent some time this week paying attention to your thoughts and recognizing distortions when they happen, you probably noticed that they can happen very frequently. Everyone, to some degree, has cognitive distortions. The more you practice challenging them, the faster and easier it becomes, until the more accurate thought becomes automatic.

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